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Celebrating Safely

February 12, 2007 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 85, Issue 7

I enjoyed reading the articles "Celebrate Chemistry" and "Chemistry Creates Comforts of Home," which highlight chemistry reaction shows and hands-on workshops for area youth (C&EN, Dec. 11, 2006, pages 3, 40). As the main adviser of our very active Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society (SAACS) Chemistry Club, I can attest that such activities are welcome by the public and cast our discipline in a positive light.

A key to success is ensuring the safety of everyone involved in the activities. I was glad to see that most of the people in the articles wore goggles or at least glasses with side shields. But I noticed a few participants had either prescription glasses or no eye protection at all. In the excitement of such activities it's easy to forget eye protection.

One helpful hint I would like to offer is to make a game out of it. At the beginning of each Reaction Show, we tell the audience that everyone performing or near a demonstration must wear their goggles and it's the audience's responsibility to shout at us if we forget. We then intentionally wear our goggles in funny places, such as on our foreheads, to get the audience shouting. The kids love it, and we ensure the safety of all.

Jay H. Brown
Marshall, Minn.


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