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Poll: Is chemical education being cramped by current safety regulations?
Yes --- 89 (89%)
No --- 11 (11%)

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Author: Subject: Is chemical education being cramped by current safety regulations?
runlabrun
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[*] posted on 8-4-2005 at 17:51


Scratch -
its not a teachers job to make your education interesting? o....k....
So what IS my job? please educate me i woudlnt have the slightest idea.
All throughout uni we are taught methods of making our provided education interesting so it is more appealing to the variance in student type in the class....
So what about the kids who are interested but are hands on learners? the simple mundane pracs just dont cut it for them, they need explicit demonstrations, they need to get in there and do it, explore each aspect.
Are you leaving them behind? restricting them from an education just because you dont want to put in the minute amount of effort it takes to make a topic interesting and exciting? Nice teacher you would make....

Me? I make every class, pracs or book work as exciting as i can, that way when my students come to the test they can remember the cool things i did to help them remember it inrstead of going "oh yeh that was that boring day in science...."

Remember, teachers are far more than educators, we dont just shovel information out to you.... thats what a LECTURER does... teachers do far far more.

-rlr
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[*] posted on 9-4-2005 at 19:59


You misunderstood me. If a student can't boil water without getting third degree burns then the teacher shouldn't be held responsable. I'm not saying we shouldn't have hazardous demonstrations. I'm saying that the teacher's first responsability is to his or her classes safety. You can do dangerous reactions safely, and it doesnt have to be dangerous to be interesting. But again, the teacher isnt there to entertain you, the teacher is there to make you understand. If you want to do a dangerous or more interesting or different reaction the teacher should be able to help you do it safely without the whole class destracting him/her. Sure, everyone likes interesting stuff, but you shouldn't put people at risk just to make their lives more interesting.

My chemistry labs were interesting enough, and hands on enough (And I am a hands on learner) that I know enough to start doing chemistry as a hobby, which is much more interesting. I am glad that I took chemistry and I would be even if the labs were boring because now I can do what I want to do. The chemistry labs are usually (At least where I am) open to the students who don't have axcess to chemicals or labware. I don't know about safety regulations but when I took my labs I didn't notice any irrational safety precautions.

This is just what I think from what I have seen, I'm not trying to insult anyone. If you think what I'm saying is wrong then I will be happy to debate it.
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[*] posted on 10-4-2005 at 04:01


I live across the pond, so my outlook might be a bit different.
Here
http://www.hmso.gov.uk/acts/acts1988/Ukpga_19880052_en_1.htm

is a copy of the legistlation that forbids me driving while drunk. Its the real legislation on the government's website.

Can someone find me a similar piece of law that would forbid me doing, for example, the thermite reaction, as a classroom experiment?
UK or USA law would do me as an example.

If not, then you can't blame the safety regulations and the answer to the question is "no".

[Edited on 10-4-2005 by unionised]
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[*] posted on 10-4-2005 at 05:15


You children need to study these articles carefully. Read it and weep!


http://www.geocities.com/milkmandan2003/braindrain2.htm


http://www.geocities.com/milkmandan2003/AgeBar1.htm


http://www.geocities.com/milkmandan2003/AgeBar2.htm
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neutrino
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[*] posted on 10-4-2005 at 06:25


There is no law about these things per se, but you still can't do them. I believe that they are prohibited by the people lower down in the chain: principals, superintendents, etc. The way these things seem to work is that an existing law, say "no killing students", is interpreted to mean, "no (pseudo)dangerous materials anywhere near schools". The laws are what we interpret them as.

I’ll admit I know little about this level of bureaucracy, so feel free to correct my theory.
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[*] posted on 10-4-2005 at 08:43
Chemistry


Neutrino, it's true that the people above the teachers are primarily responsible for the
limited use of chemicals. They're worried about getting sued by lawyers.

Magpie, you mentioned a "virtual" chem lab. I'm glad I had a "hands on" chem teacher
in high school. I count myself among the lucky ones. Virtual labs won't cut it - especially
for a pyro like me.




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[*] posted on 10-4-2005 at 17:00


this should represent US, HS education with reg's. 2nd ed and uni's run a little different.

I think your looking at this the wrong way... there are these organizations which prohibit a lot of chemicals or materials from going into schools or in general, entities over a certain size. OSHA regulations is in place for teachers (they are workers) OSHA regulations in place for the public (students) in these 'work places'. there are DNR rules which prohibit the generation of certain Haz Waste etc. There is another organization which regulates materials safety, but I cant remember its name. And of course public schools MUST follow these rules since they are bodies of the State. Private schools, which are ussualy smaller in size get a little more freedoms, but most of the freedoms come from the local side. There are also Supt. rules (since they would ultimatly be concerned with student safety(and money haha), Principal rules, budget rules (most people do not realize schools must put money into certain accounts, and only money from the asigned accounts can be used on the things they are asigned to. (so people bitch when there is money to put carpet into the office area's, but the chemistry labs don't have heating plates or something.) But its the dumb way that works. (the only way around that, is to get someone smart on school boards, but that never seems to happen)
Then there are teacher rules... there are some things teacher just don't want to do for safety or whatever. There are also limitations on ventalation (back to OSHA). If you want to throw a penny into HNO3 to show students something interesting, you need a place for the NO2 to go, and it needs to be somewhere which will filter the haz waste (back to DNR). The biggest sticker though isnt the rules. Its the fricken budget I mentioned. Its a tricky issue since it costs money to buy chemicals, ship chemicals(sometimes it costs as much to ship the crap as the actual chemical), store the chemicals and if you let the chemicals expire, you have to PAY to get rid of them correctly (DNR and OSHA again). Have you ever gone to www.fishersci.com? there are other chemicals suppliers too, but regardless, this stuffs expensive considering you need to put money into other things in the science budget.

Yes, I agree however, that it is very difficult for science teachers to find demo's and activities which capture the attention of students AND allow them to draw correlations in science. from the education standards, the teacher needs to teach how to observe relevent data and make speculations. This can be done on paper. but... err..this is not very interesting to people who are trying to learn science esp chemistry or physics (which is initialy difficult to teach). So demos , labs and hands on are great, only the students also need to be safe in the realms of common sense.

*skipping common sense with safety arguments*

Overall, I vote no. I personaly feel that safety is not enforced enough. The ones who are really interested (and smart) find ways to be safe and get around regulations.

I suspect that there may be dumb rules which make extreme cases for this question, but can you list some examples of things which regulations ban? (be location specific)
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[*] posted on 10-4-2005 at 18:46


Quote:
The ones who are really interested (and smart) find ways to be safe and get around regulations.


So for those of us who wouldn't have looked twice at chemistry because its all numbers and stoichometric ratios and avogadro's numbers and moles and dry and boring should not be allowed to enjoy chemistry? I had one class like that and it was my first one. I dreaded taking the next years class. More numbers and such I thought. Thank $Diety that I had a different teacher who thought to give examples, and have us help and do experiments and hands on equipment. From that class alone there were at least 10 converts.;)

And Disregarding getting new people interested. Why should the interested ones have to do it at home? Its safer in the lab is it not?

The only reason there is a budget problem is that if elsewhere is anything like my school, 99% of the budget went towards our loosing sports teams. Education no longer matters just the sports.
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[*] posted on 10-4-2005 at 19:43


^^^

I think it is safer doing chemistry at home; it just happens that often what people do at home is very dangerous! At my house I at least have good gloves, a face shield and goggles and soon a good gas mask. I also don't have to deal with dumbasses that can't record data and slow me down(god damn I had to deal with so much stupidity last year)

As too learning chemistry work put into it is what you get out of it. Sure learning such detail about orbitals and sigma bonds is hard work - makes stoich look like a piece of cake. But that beautiful, perfect control over matter is so there! I know Im getting closer every day. Closer to that understanding in my mind giving me absolute power. Make any drug, synth any poison, produce any color, destroy anything and create everything. Chemistry is the central science and every hardship is worth it. To have that level of control is intoxicating. Read Perfume by Suskind and change perfume to chemicals, odor to organic and smell to science. Don't think Im going to try to distill any virgins however:P




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[*] posted on 12-4-2005 at 09:39


FBI said
"You children need to study these articles carefully. Read it and weep!
"

I had a look at the articles.
Do you mind if I smile rather than weep?
Here in the UK, and generally across Europe, there is a problem with pensions. Basicly, too many people are living long after 60 (or 65) and drawing cash from the pension funds.
There are a number of possible solutions to this but one is "making" peole stay on at work after 60. The UK Govt and the unions reperesenting the public sector workforce are currenly sorting out rules to permit flexibillity in this matter. (Letting those who wish to quit at 60, but permitting people to stay on at work as long as they can.)
I'm pretty sure the other European govenments are doing the same sort of thing. The last thing the Government wants people to do is retire at 60. There is every chance that, when I come to retirement, it will be at 65 rather than 60- they may have to raise the bar even further as healthcare costs rise.

Not only that, but sacking someone for turning 60 would be a breach of the European Human rights act.

This is another case of "OH My God, Look At the Crazy Laws!" where the laws, like those forbidding experiments in high school labs, simply don't exist.

This begs the question, who starts this sort of story and why?
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[*] posted on 16-4-2005 at 11:41


Benzyl chloride and allyl chloride are industrial chemicals with full safety advice. Benzyl bromide, benzyl iodide, allyl bromide and allyl iodide are not and do not have the same info. As a chemist I would expect the bromide and iodide to be more toxic. Work with the devil you know and just because there is not a piece of paper use common sense.

mick.

Here in the UK my old man in his 80,s is suprised at all the benefits. Free bus pass, free TV licence, cheap road tax and insurance, help with winter heating and post-help with burying his wife.
mick

[Edited on 16-4-2005 by mick]
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[*] posted on 18-4-2005 at 13:04


Allyl chloride is rather volatile and a pain in the neck to work with.
On the other hand, is it in any sense relevant to this thread?
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[*] posted on 28-4-2005 at 02:03


Heh, I don't think that a poll was necessary, as it is quite easy to predict what the opinion of people around here is.



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[*] posted on 30-4-2005 at 05:02


It is sadly predictable that the majority feel that education is being hampered by regulations that don't really exist.

It would be funny if they were to think that the tooth fairy was harming education, but this is a tragedy.
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[*] posted on 30-4-2005 at 05:42


The regulations may not always exist on paper, but they certainly do exist in the minds of people who ‘would’ be affected by them, i.e. the teachers and superintendents. The rules don’t have to be formal to apply. Sadly, a general sense of restraint in the minds of the teachers will be more than enough.
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[*] posted on 30-4-2005 at 06:06


I think that "safety regulation" in this thread should be interpreted as restraint exercised by politicians, local authorities, lobby groups (parents, econuts) and people who are otherwise in a position to influence chemical education on a highschool level.

There may not be explicit laws, but if a teacher can get sued under some other law for something minor, this still has considerable effect. This is mainly caused by the idiotic interpretation of liability these days.

[Edited on 30-4-2005 by vulture]




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[*] posted on 30-4-2005 at 06:15


Actually, I conceived the poll in that regulations may be hampering chemical education as a whole, not just high school.

unionised, looking back at your first post in this thread, yes, I would agree that it is not explicitly stated in the applicable laws that such-and-such reaction should not be done as a classroom demonstration. It is to my knowledge, however, that "unwritten rules" guised as safety regulations have done more than their fair share of curtailing activities seen to be valuable in illuminating chemical concepts to the uninitiated. That, and the fear of litigation, as vulture mentions.

sparky (°_°)




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[*] posted on 30-4-2005 at 14:06


Perhaps we need a new poll, "Is education in chemistry being ruined by ambulance-chasing lawyers (Y/N)"

The problem isn't regulations, it's the lack of understanding of risk by parents, headteachers and whoever. Those who wish to pretend that terrorism and/or drug manufacture is a major threat to our day to day lives also feed into this problem. Again, if the people knew how to evaluate real risk, they wouldn't let governments ban the sale of nitrate fertilisers.

[Edited on 30-4-2005 by unionised]
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[*] posted on 27-6-2005 at 14:11
health shmelth


In high school chemistry, most of the reactions that would be regulated are probably out of the courses' scope. As for mercury thermometers; they are a necessity. If the gov't bans mercury thermometers due to health concerns, why dont they ban partially hydrogented or brominated oils from the cafeteria?
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[*] posted on 27-6-2005 at 15:05


There are still many interesting ones that are within the scope of high school chem that aren't done, e.g. alkali metal + water.

What's so necessary about mercury thermometers? What about alcohol?
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[*] posted on 27-6-2005 at 15:32


No (to a first approximation). I think it's more a result of the changing role of chemical education. Back in the day, if you were taking cemistry courses there was a decent chance you would become a chemist, or at least someone who might need to work in a lab environment. If you were to ask a lower level college chemistry class today what their carreer goals are, chances are good that you won't get a single person wanting to be a chemist. It's simply not worth the risk for people that won't need the experience.

This is not to discount fear of litigation, of course. Yesterday, for example, there was an advertisement on TV trolling for people with benzene exposure.
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[*] posted on 27-6-2005 at 17:59


In reference to nitrate fertilizers I read today that the Simplot Fertilizer company (USA) is planning to stop production of ammonium nitrate. Reasons given were: 1) wanting to not allow terrorists to get a hold of it, and 2) don't want the hassle of complying with government regulations that are being proposed in congress. Agrium, a Canadian competitor, however, said that they have no plans to stop production. Simplot production is currently 40,000 tons/yr.



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[*] posted on 27-6-2005 at 20:56


"...what's so necessary about mercury thermometers? What about alcohol?"

If you're going to be taking the temperature of something that would boil alcohol at its current condition, it really isn't a good idea to use an alcohol thermometer for it. :) But this is still a moot point in defending mercury thermometers; gallium themometers (although a bit expensive) and thermocouples are good alternatives to using mercury.

tetrachloromethane (whew! long name :)), they won't ban partially hydrogenated oils since there are usually no cheaper alternatives.

Geomancer, was it a law firm? ;)

sparky (~_~)

P.S. Is thread digging becoming a rising sport here? :D




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[*] posted on 28-6-2005 at 02:27


Quote:
Originally posted by Geomancer
This is not to discount fear of litigation, of course. Yesterday, for example, there was an advertisement on TV trolling for people with benzene exposure.


Who hasn't been "exposed" to benzene? Everytime someone fills a car with petrol/gasoline, they're handling of the order a litre of benzene. Petrol/gasoline is only available to the public because it's a necessity with no economic alternative. If it wasn't required as a fuel, it would have been banned years ago.




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[*] posted on 19-9-2005 at 13:54


Science is mostly associated with LOL GUYS LETS MKE A KEWLZ BOMBS n blow up skool cause our t3ahcers a fag0t n00b n shit LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL... PRAISE ALLAH FUCK YOU WESTERN GUYS.. lolz guys whats this anarchism killing polic n shit yo this is tight..

When the hell did political oreitation or whatever the hell you call it combine with science to form terrorism and anarchy. Science is science and a fucktard with a bomb wanting to cause a "revolution" is some fucktard on the internet. In other words when you go up to somebody and say Im going to cook my food with propane they dont go OMG CALL HOMELAND SECURITY THIS GUYS GONNA MAKE AN FAE LOLOL

Until people get a clue and realize that science HAS ABSO FUCKING LUTLY nothing to do political views we will contiune to have this nonsense regulations...

Sorry for cursing but this makes my blood boil.
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