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Life Science Safety Concerns


Animals in the Classroom

. Be aware of National's Biology Teachers and National Science Teachers Association Rules governing the use of animals in the classroom. These can be found in Gerlovich (1985), pp 150-155 and Virkus (1978), pp 80-81.

. Sound teacher judgment and concern for the well being of the animals is of prime importance.

. A healthy and proper environment should be provided.

. Use plants rather than animals, when available.

. Avoid activities that are beyond the capability of the student.

. Diet experiments should require the return of the animal to a normal diet.

. Vivisection (the cutting into or experimentation with live animals) is not permitted.

. Wear gloves and handle animals carefully to avoid scratches and bites that may cause transmission of harmful disease.

. Students should be familiar with the identification of protected or regulated animals that inhabit the general region of a collection site.

. Do not allow the following in the classroom:

.. imported exotic animals

.. wild animals

.. injured or stray animals

.. known poisonous animals

. Follow instructions provided when working with live materials ordered through a supply company.

Animal Dissection

. Be informed of any student who may be put under physical stress when using preserved specimens.

. Monitor for any signs of student illness as a result of exposure to chemicals used in specimen preparation.

. Avoid contact with preservative chemicals (formaldehyde and formalin). It is suggested to soak specimens in water for 24 hours prior to dissection. [Maximum exposure should be no more than 2 ppm in a 15 minute period.] Freeze-dried specimens are recommended.

. An eye-wash fountain should be available for student use if needed.

. OSHA approved chemical splash safety goggles must be worn and may be purchased through the Akron Public Schools Warehouse. The school secretary can provide the necessary order for

. Provide adequate ventilation during dissection.

. Properly mount dissection specimens to dissecting pan. Do not dissect a specimen while holding it.

. Handle scalpel or razor blade (safety edged) with extreme care.

. Students should always cut away from their bodies and away from other students.

. Students should be cautioned to never ingest specimen parts.

. Students should not be allowed to remove specimens or specimen parts from the classroom.

. All parts of the dissection must remain within the dissecting pan.

. Properly dispose of dissected materials.

. Store specimens in accordance with directions.

. Clean up the work area and return all equipment to the proper place.

. Wash hands after each dissection.

Microscope Investigations

. Instruct students in the proper use of the microscope.

. Avoid the use of pathogens and tumor-producing agents.

. Solutions of vinegar, salt water and iodine should be handled with caution.

. Carry the microscope with one hand on the microscope arm and the other under the base.

. Do not use direct sunlight as a light source.

. Be careful when using glass slides and cover slips because they are sharp.

. Under no circumstances should equipment, used in personal experiments, be shared (straws, toothpicks, spoons, tongue depressors, etc.).

. Use Lysol or bleach to disinfect an area if needed.

. Return all equipment to its proper location.

Plants in the Classroom

. Avoid distribution of pollen bearing plants or mold infested substances in the classroom.

. Be familiar with the identification of protected or regulated plants found in the general area of a collection site. (see Gerlovich [1985], pp 148-149)

. Familiarize yourself with common poisonous plants typical to the general area of a collection site

. Monitor for any signs of student illness as a result of exposure to plants, pollen or fungal spores.


. Use plastic substitutes for glassware, whenever possible.

. Never eat or drink out of class glassware.

. Do not apply extreme force to any glass object.

. Do not shake down or swing thermometers. Substitute alcohol for mercury thermometers.

. Use Pyrex glassware, where indicated.

. Do not use damaged or chipped glassware.

. Do not dispose of broken glassware in classroom waste basket.

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