We’ve blogged about the do’s and dont’s when it comes to analytical balance use and chemical handling in the lab. We’ve however not established it with a live case study. Here is an example of what can result from improper handling of chemicals and sub-optimal use of the analytical balance. It started with the detection of abnormally high levels of arsenic in the urine of an employee at an affiliated laboratory. Investigations revealed that the entire process of using the analytical balance and weighing flouted several best practices. In fact the contamination was so high that an external decontamination crew had to be called in. The article reinforces the need to follow best practices when handling chemicals.
Here is instructions for an experiment to indirectly measure the mass of a bolt. There is a whodunit element to the exercise in that the instructions do not give clear directions as how to go about measuring the mass since the bolt is attached to a nut that cannot be removed. A number of hints are provided in the copy and also suggestions on determining the mass using a balance beam or an analytical balance. The choice of method and equipment to use is largely left to the discretion of the student with only the goals being stated and a few focus questions being asked to help establish the direction in which to move the experiment. Give it a try and pop your answer in the comments below.
With over 800 marinas and yacht clubs in New York state, water quality and environmental conservation becomes important. This comprehensive compliance manual from the Department of Environmental Conservation, New York State provides pollution prevention and compliance guidelines for marina operators. It includes best practices for waste and pollution management, environmental self-assessment, regulations, waste stream management guidelines, and an important resource guide for those seeking more information. We are not surprised to note that under parts cleaning and degreasing an ultrasonic parts cleaner is recommended. This is a no-brainer replacement as it is both environmentally friendly as well as a big productivity booster.
This research project investigates methods to help New York farmers grow better stone fruits. This fruit category – apricots, cherries, peaches, nectarines, and plums – came to the attention of the farmers due to the worldwide glut in apple supplies. However, a shortage of adequate supplies and temperamental NY weather have been a roadblock in its adoption. By improving the genetic stock and creating new varieties, researchers seek to develop a hybrid variety that will not only be suited to NY’s markets but will also be disease resistant and more adapted to NY’s environmental stresses. An elaborate 10-year test is envisaged which includes developing cold tolerance, which will be tested in a laboratory freezer using exotherm analysis methods.
This presentation gives a good overview of the analytical process. It starts by explaining about chemical analysis and the qualitative and quantitative analytical process. It then delves into the steps involved: sample preparation, separation, and measurement. Next, it gives a brief overview of the sample preparation and the separation step since the exact process can vary considerably depending on the type of analyte being analyzed. It then explains the different ways in which it measurement is done including the use of an analytical balance. It then gives an example of two different substances being analyzed to illustrate the difference in the exact processes used. It finally rounds up the discussion with a review of units of measurement and stoichiometry.
This two hour long video from the CDC explores critical issues related to immunization which go beyond vaccines and their application. Instructors review three facets of the immunization encounter: pre-encounter, encounter, and post encounter activities. Pre-counter issues addressed include vaccine refrigerator storage and other means of storage as well as emergency response preparedness. Encounter related issues explored include parent and patient education, using vaccine information statements, screening for contraindications, and vaccine administration. Post encounter activities relate primarily to documentation and record keeping. The end objective of this program is to enable viewers to locate current immunization practice resources, list processes for proper vaccine storage and handling and emergency preparedness, and be able to name a communication strategy about its risks and benefits. Viewers also have the option to gain continuing education credits.… Read the rest
Diseased cells testing is at times used to estimate a tumor’s or a diseased organ’s response to medication. The typical method is to remove the diseased cells from the body and grow them in a laboratory incubator. The only drawback with this method is that the results may not be clinically relevant since the cell cultures grow in artificial conditions with drugs whose concentrations may not mimic the same levels as that within the body. This report discusses the accelerator mass spectrometer (AMS) as an alternate method. It is essentially a highly sensitive and accurate instrument for counting atoms. It can measure trace quantities of carbon 14-labelled compounds in human tissue and fluids through a method called ‘microdosing’. It can thus track multiple drugs in humans safely to determine the chemical entitiies’ interaction with diseased tissue.
One of the hurdles to switching to green technologies has been the higher cost of these technologies when compared to the traditional ones. In some industries this may still be the case but not in metal operations. As this EPA document shows. By using reformulated materials, reducing evaporative emissions, changing cleaning processes, recycling materials, changing processes, and upgrading equipment businesses have been able to save well over half a million dollars in annual costs alone. In addition to which they have made tremendous reduction in hazardous wastes and pollutants. One business was able to save over $15,000 by switching to aqueous based cleaning systems. A device like an ultrasonic cleaner for industrial use will drastically slash cleaning times while improving productivity and reducing your carbon footprint.
Going green is no longer optional. We all need to do our bit to conserve energy and limit the impact of greenhouse gases. This PDF examines some of the ways in which you can go green in your lab. Take for example the fume hood. It emits over thirty three thousand pounds of CO2 in a year. That’s twice the amount generated by your house and three times the amount generated by your car. By switching off the fume hood or closing it sash when not in use you reduce CO2 emissions by ten thousand pounds. Likewise turn off unused growth chambers. Careful use of Laboratory freezers can also help. The document makes a number of other recommendations for conserving energy and reducing carbon footprint.
This sterilization protocol for dental instruments is brief but thorough. It covers every aspect of the sterilization process starting from the moment when the instruments are turned in. ‘Sharps’ and disposable waste are first removed and disposed off according to proper protocol. If there is dried on blood the instrument is left to pre-soak in an ultrasonic cleaning solution. Instruments are cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner for 12 minutes. Once the ultrasonic cleaning is complete they are rinsed with water and dried. They are then packaged for sterilization. The sterilization process includes steam, dry heat, chemical vapor, or immersion in 2% glutaraldehyde solution.