“Suiting Up” to work in the lab

I spent five hours working in the lab today.  I was taught how to wash and rinse glassware used for specimens and pesticides in experiments.  Safety precautions have to be followed in order to handle and cleanse the glassware.  I had to wear a lab coat, an apron, two pairs of gloves and a face mask.  The reason for “suiting up” is because I am handling glassware which has been exposed to pesticides and I also handle nitric acid and acetate during the cleansing process.  There is a protocol for washing and rinsing the glassware.  I was taught to place and remove glassware from an “acid bath” and was instructed to do this with caution.  I was told to take off my clothes and head for the showers if I accidently spilled acid on my clothing. (Yikes!!!)  I managed to make it through the day without any mishaps.
While in the lab, I observed Kaitlyn and her assistant conducting, observing, and documenting results on the blue crabs and shrimp. This was an interesting experience. 

Who We Are

Isabel Garza

What We Did

I extracted bowls, jars, and other glassware from an acid bath and used deionized water to rinse the glassware.  After the acid bath was empty, I refilled the acid bath with other glassware previously soaked in soapy water and washed again by me and rinsed in deionized water.  I used a pair of tongs to extract the glassware from the acid bath and to refill the acid bath with the next batch of glassware ready for the acid bath.

What We Learned

I learned how to prepare glassware to be used in experiments.  I learned to take my time and focus on following the safety precautions and following the protocols.

Questions We Have

  • Are the fumes of the pesticides and the chemicals  used in the lab harmful to humans?
  • Are the blue crab exposed to pesticides released in the bays and estuaries safe for human consumption?

Connections to Teaching

  • student awareness about how pesticides from agricultural runoff and other toxins may affect the ecosystems in their community