How Safe Are You?


by Brendan Geen, Staff Writer

An explosion happened in a chemistry lab room in New York early January after an experiment went wrong, badly injuring two students. One was in intensive care in the hospital and the other was sent home from the hospital that same day.

When accidents like this happen, it always raises the question about lab safety. Do the Glen Rock chemistry teachers do enough to keep students safe around dangerous chemicals and reactions? Students seem to feel safe enough doing experiments in the lab room.

“Yeah, I definitely feel safe. There are so many safety precautions that we have to take that it makes me feel comfortable,” Ryan Castellano, a junior, said. He took chemistry his sophomore year and did many experiments with chemicals, much like sophomores do every year.

During lab experiments that involve potentially dangerous chemicals, everyone is required to wear goggles, gloves, and a protective apron.  Girls or boys are required to tie their hair back so that it does not catch on fire and baggy clothing is not allowed during the experiment.

In addition to all of these rules during the labs, there is also a lab safety chapter that is taught in the first few weeks of the year. This unit shows students that the things that they are working with can be dangerous and teaches them how to be safe around the chemicals.

“Yeah, the unit was very annoying, but it definitely helped throughout the year,” said Jeremy Packer. “It took forever but it helped.”

Even though accidents like what happened in the New York school do happen, they are very rare. That one incident did happen, but there are thousands of other schools that it hasn’t happened in.