Articles by: Kyle

Pregos in lab (Unedited)

This is a sensitive issue, so I’ll tread lightly here (or as lightly as I can.) I’ve wondered to myself, as a member of the Cock And Nuts Club, if women who are with child should be “allowed” to work in the lab. By “with child” of course I mean Preggos and by “lab” I mean a real lab where there are chemicals like chloroform and benzene and RB flasks and shit. Biochemistry labs don’t count since they poop themselves when someone spills the “Ethidium bromide”, which is orders of magnitude more dangerous than their next killer – HEPES buffer. Since we organic chemists eat Ethidium bromide on our toast, the true understanding of glove-penetrating solvents with the ability to conduct organic compounds transdermally into your blood stream should be more apparent. In short, as I watch the current trend of celebrity pregnancy blend itself with graduate students, it’s becoming abundantly clear that there should be some sort of guidelines that establish when and if it is appropriate to tell a pregnant woman she can’t work in the lab any more.But I’m one of those sushi-eating, BMW driving, tree hugging, pro-choice libertarians who doesn’t particularly feel inclined to tell people what they should or shouldn’t do with things intractably connected to their uterus. It’s simply a concern for the liability for a school and for a student since, as often as Universities like to play the dual card of “You’re student/Staff – more so when it suits us best” they’d have a hard time running from the accusation that “I’m just a dumb student, no one told me I shouldn’t play in the lab while preggers.” While logically, no one should be able to get away with this defense. It’s the proverbial killing of your parents and asking for leniency because you’re an orphan – but the judicial system in this country doesn’t work that way. When it comes to placing fault, the “victim” is generally treated like… well… a victim.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying it’s a bad decision to work in the lab while a woman is pregnant. My liability isn’t at stake here. If a woman chooses to do so, however, she carries the burden of risk with her, however high that may be. The fact that there is no consensus, let alone regulation, isn’t totally surprising, but the fact that there is no policy of forcing a bunch of forms and signatures is a bit.

By March 18, 2008 16 comments Uncategorized