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teratogen exposure

Trina Roberts troberts at scws1.harvard.edu
Wed Feb 8 22:30:08 EST 1995

As an undergraduate biology major, I definitely think all students should 
be informed about possible hazards.  I took an organic chemistry lab 
course last semester in which many students had little or no experience 
with lab beyond inorganic chem.  It was made very clear at the beginning 
of the term that food was not permitted in lab, that no contact lenses 
were to be worn, and that safety goggles were a necessity at all times.  
Warnings about chemicals were often included in our lab manual and we 
were taught disposal and use techniques for the hazards we encountered.

To me, it seems as if not warning students about teratogens is as stupid 
as not warning them about silica gel or concentrated acid.  It is far 
easier to avoid risks if you know what they are!

Most importantly, perhaps, the information should be given to all 
students to avoid singling out the women (or the men if it is the 
opposite sort of hazard).  It seems as if, otherwise, you run the risk of 
making women feel as if it isn't OK to ask or to worry, as if that makes 
them less of a scientist.  All scientists must worry about hazards, and 
chemicals that are potentially more dangerous to women, or to pregnant 
women, should not be a special category; such warnings should be part of 
basic routine, just as would a warning about a carcinogen or radiation.

With the perspective of a college sophomore,
Trina Roberts
troberts at fas.harvard.edu

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