keep out the bad guys...

Tony Travis ajt at
Mon Nov 22 06:06:22 EST 1993

\Martin Hughes \(Bioc\) (mjgh at mbfs\ wrote:
: In article <CGpBJn.ABF at> mkjensen at (Martha K Jensen) writes:

: About scaring folks off from using/stealing things, including...

: [...]

While I was a PhD student some people in the lab were in the habit of
putting radioactivity hazard warning tape on their 'Eppendorf'
pippettes to stop others from using them (in case they were

Being a helpful soul, I would check their pippettes with a monitor
before stealing them, and rip the labels off if they were clean ;-)

On one occasion I came across a badly contaminated pippette that _was_
labelled as radioactive:  When asked about the label, the person last
using it without taking the most elementary precaution of wearing
gloves said "oh, those labels don't mean anything ...",

It eventually transpired that the contamination on the pippette came
from her fingers which were contaminated by shaking leaky scintillation
vials with a 'whirly' mixer.  She had been holding the vials by the lid
with her unprotected fingers, and spent the next 48h scrubbing them to
remove Rb+ contamination.

My point is that I wanted to use the pippette for non-radioactive work
and, had I taken the same view as her, I would also have been scrubbing
my fingers raw because I wouldn't have taken any safety precautions if
I believed the pippette was clean even though labelled as radioactive.

Please consider carefully the implications of what you are saying.  If
a hazard warning label is mis-used people will ignore it when it is
actually there for the real reason of alerting them to danger.

Let me remind you about the boy who cried WOLF!

Dr. A.J.Travis,                       |  JANET: <ajt at>
Rowett Research Institute,            |  other: <ajt at>
Greenburn Road, Bucksburn,            |  phone: +44 (0)224 712751
Aberdeen, AB2 9SB. UK.                |    fax: +44 (0)224 715349

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