How to safely wear a lab safety visor
AUSTRALIA’S biggest and most prestigious scientific journal has called for a new, compulsory lab safety mask that would replace the lab goggles.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science said the goggles are worn by “about 70% of people in the United States” and that the goggles “should be made mandatory”.
“The goggles are becoming more and more common, and their cost is skyrocketing,” said Dr Matthew G. Taylor, a senior scientist at the journal.
“The problem is they’re making us wear a mask that doesn’t fit.”
The association has called on the Federal Government to set up a national lab safety institute, and for federal departments to review lab safety equipment.
In December, the American Society of Clinical Pathologists (ASCP) recommended that all coronavirus-related tests should be conducted under the guidance of a medical professional.
“We want to see lab safety guidelines that are designed to help protect people from unnecessary exposure to potentially life-threatening pathogens, not just the more common airborne viruses,” Dr Taylor said.
“It’s an issue of public health.
We need to see our lab safety standards set at the national level.”
A recent report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that nearly 40% of American adults had worn a lab protective mask during the previous 12 months.
The report said that a person could get infected with more than 1,000 different coronaviruses during the 12 months, which can lead to severe illness, including death.
Dr Taylor and other scientists have been lobbying for a lab mask that was “more protective” for people at higher risk.
A recent study found that people who had been exposed to laboratory-created viruses like the coronaviral respiratory syndrome virus (CRISV) during a laboratory visit were about three times more likely to develop respiratory infections.
“In the US, about 70% to 80% of the population has worn a mask at some point in their lives,” Dr Brown said.
“This is just unacceptable.”
The new lab safety masks would be made from a plastic that can withstand temperatures of up to 3,000 degrees Celsius (5,200 degrees Fahrenheit), and would have a protective layer of polyester fabric that would be designed to “hold humidity, UV rays, moisture, light and heat”, according to a press release.
“While there are currently lab safety helmets in use, there is little research to suggest they are safe for long-term wear,” Dr G. Brown said in the press release, adding that “there is no evidence of a reduction in the likelihood of transmission”.
The new lab masks would replace lab goggles that are used by more than 20 million people in Australia and the US each year, according to the organisation.
The institute would also be responsible for designing a lab wear system that would make the masks more comfortable for people who wear lab coats or suits.
Dr Brown also said that coronavides “have not reduced the number of people who are at high risk of infection”.
“While lab wear is now common in the US and Australia, there has been no significant reduction in coronavids in the developed world,” he said.
The lab safety organisation’s report comes as coronavide use in Australia has been increasing, and is on track to become the world’s third-most common type of respiratory illness.
In November, the Federal Department of Health (DHHS) said there were 2,077 cases of coronaviroids in Australia in December, up by more, or 2.1% on the previous month.
Meanwhile, coronavovirus infections in Australia are now up by over 500% in the past 12 months from the previous year.
Dr Brown said that despite the new lab mask, it would not make a difference in how the coronovirus epidemic affected people in other parts of the world.
“If we don’t get better laboratory wear, we’re still going to see people at high levels of exposure,” he told ABC Radio.
“You’re not going to stop people from being infected.”
In Australia, the majority of the 1.3 million cases of respiratory coronavosis were in the Northern Territory.
In Tasmania, 1,074 cases of the respiratory disease were recorded in December.
There have been two coronavoid-related deaths in Australia this year, and the coronivirus has caused a death in the Tasmanian Government’s public health team. ABC/AAP