Issue Date: September 7, 2009
ACS Safety Information Online
I would like to respond to the letter by James J. La Clair (C&EN, July 20, page 6). First, I have to say that I was saddened by the news of the early death of Sheharbano Sangji, and my most sincere thoughts go out to her family and friends.
La Clair states, "ACS is also to blame. It does not offer friendly advice to its members on how to improve their own laboratory safety." He goes on to mention some nonsense about direct mailings offering credit cards, retirement plans, and so on. I actually find value in some of these mailings, especially the term life insurance.
What irks me, however, is that La Clair apparently has not taken the time to visit the ACS website, www.acs.org. The "Education" tab takes you to a page full of "friendly advice," including safety guidelines for teachers working with children in grades K–12 and chemical health and safety resources for those working in industry. The cost of mailing all of this material to each of the 158,000 ACS members would be exorbitant and out of line with ACS goals of sustainability and resource reduction.
The site has a link to the ACS Committee on Chemical Safety, where white papers regarding current safety issues are published in a timely manner. The committee site has loads of additional materials, most of it free or nearly so. For example, the first copy of "Chemical Safety for Small Businesses" is free, and additional copies are only $2.50. Or you can simply view it in its entirety online. There are many more titles available that serve our various members' needs.
I would say ACS has taken a strong stand on chemical safety and has done so for many years. It is clear many people have worked very hard to help keep our members safe and up to date. You only have to act by asking for the information.
Carl E. Heltzel
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