Public Announcements

     WARNING: Don't do the rainbow demo or other hazardous demonstrations

    Educators cautioned about classroom demonstrations involving fire

    The National ACS issued an important nation-wide press release on July 26, 2018 to call attention to the risks inherent in classroom and public outreach demonstrations that involve lighting volatile, flammable solvents on fire. As many of you are aware, and as we have reported to this board as well, there have been numerous serious accidents over the past 20 years in which students and teachers, and even young children, have been severely burned and injured. These accidents have not been limited to chemistry classroom settings. Children have been injured in both high school and middle school physical science classrooms, as well as in museum shows, summer camps, and even scouting events.

    The ACS press release cites a recently published and groundbreaking review of this topic that appeared online on July 13, 2018 on the the Journal of Chemical Education website. In order to have this warning reach as many people as possible, the Journal and the ACS are providing free online access to this publication. The statistics reported in the paper are indeed grim. Even as someone who has been professionally involved in talking to teachers about this problem for many years, I was stunned by the overall numbers. Over the past 20 years, 164 children and educators have been injured. Tragically, despite numerous warnings from the ACS, NSTA, the NISE Network of Science and Childrens’ Museums, and even the Chemical Safety Board, similar accidents continue to take place.

    Please continue to share this information widely, in both formal and informal settings, with students and colleagues, with teachers and outreach volunteers, and even with the general public.