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Reactions: How C&EN can help non-PhDs, and the importance of lab safety

July 23, 2023 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 101, Issue 24


Letters to the editor

How C&EN can help non-PhDs

I wish to offer a few thoughts about a comment from Jack R. Hall in his letter published in the June 19/26 issue of C&EN (page 3). He mentioned that most of his “young BS and MS chemists [believe] that C&EN is geared to PhDs only.” I am a BS chemist (with additional studies but not an advanced degree) and a 40-plus-year member of the American Chemical Society. C&EN has been the primary reason I have remained an ACS member for so long. For my areas of work, which have included process chemistry in the fields of power production, air pollution control, and industrial water treatment (and now technical writing for clients in those industries), C&EN has provided and continues to provide excellent articles on technology advancements, environmental issues, business developments, and many other topics, including safety issues. For example, the June 19/26 publication contained an important article about an industrial acetic acid spill that killed two workers and injured others (page 13).

For any chemist who is interested in advancing their career beyond repetitive lab work, I am convinced that C&EN is a valuable resource for staying abreast of business and technology developments. In fact, I have had the opportunity to reference several C&EN articles in my own pieces, all of which I essentially write for BS chemists and similarly educated technical personnel in industry.

Brad Buecker
Lawrence, Kansas

Importance of safety

Using papers published by a research laboratory as an indicator of the impact of lab safety seems to significantly miss the mark on what an effective safety program should mean to students and employees of a company (C&EN, June 19/26, 2023, page 13). Indeed, regular safety training and lab inspections, safety meetings, and peer keeping do take time; however, if just one life is saved or a serious personal injury avoided, this would surely outweigh the value of the unsafe, expedited research activity. Conducting safe chemistry is not only good chemistry but, for best-in-class companies that prioritize an accountable safety culture, a condition of employment.

Ara A. Jeknavorian
Chelmsford, Massachusetts



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