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放大字体  缩小字体 发布日期:2011-09-17  来源:21st Century   浏览次数:2296
核心提示:近日曝光的东北农业大学实验室感染事故引发了公众对于高校学术安全的思考。高校实验室安全监管方面存在哪些疏忽(negligence) 与漏洞?而实验室中学生的健康安全又该由谁负责?

Chen Ling, 21, is supposed to be using mice in an experiment. However, the little creatures look sick. They crouch in the corner of the cage with a dull look in their eyes.

Without gloves, the 21-year-old clinical medicine sophomore is reluctant to reach into the cage. What will happen if one of the mice scratches her and she catches a disease?

The student’s worries about her security in her school’s laboratory have increased since the accident at Northeast Agricultural University in December last year. Twenty-seven students and one teacher were infected by Brucella during experiments on goats.

At a press conference on September 5, 2011, the university admitted that the accident was caused by the teachers’ negligence. When they bought the goats, the teachers had not asked the farm to issue a quarantine certificate. Nor had they arranged to have the goats quarantined before using them for experiments.

Even in the lab, the teachers had not been strict with health and safety. Some students and even the instructor himself dissected the goats without gloves on, according to an infected student quoted by Xinhua News Agency.

The accident has aroused public concern about the issue of safety in college laboratory experiments.

“We want to know whether we are using healthy animals in our experiments; whether we are working in a safe lab,” said Chen, who studied at Wannan Medical College and refused to give her real name. She complains that her school is not providing enough funding to ensure laboratory security.

Li Manyu, 20, is a sophomore majoring in clinical examination at Zhengzhou University. As part of the course, Li’s teacher shows the students the rooms where the school keeps the animals for experiments.

The rooms look clean. Even so, Li feels that it would be better if students could see the quarantine process, and if the school identified those animals that had undergone quarantine.

Many students say the problem is especially bad at the undergraduate level. Even in big, important universities, it is often only the key postgraduate labs that enjoy sufficient funding, according to Ge Xin. Ge (not her real name) is a 19-year-old sophomore majoring in chemistry at Xiamen University.

Ge has had problems with the difference in the equipment in labs for freshmen and labs for postgraduates. Postgraduates, for example, use disposable test tubes when they do experiments on potentially dangerous heavy metal ions.

However, Ge needs to wash the tubes after experiments. Worse still, she sometimes cannot find a suitable brush, so has to wash the tube with her finger, running the risk of touching heavy metal ions.

“Undergraduates of some majors need to do a lot of experiments in the lab,” said Ge, who spends six hours per week in the lab. “The ‘easy’ experiments we do also have risks. The school should give the same weight to our safety in labs.”

Universities are responsible for offering students safe equipment for their experiments and giving clear security instructions, according to Jiang Kaixun. Jiang is in charge of a lab for manufacturing automation at Northeast Petroleum University.

He revealed that professionals inspect the heavy machinery in the lab every two or three weeks to see whether anything needs to be replaced. Also, students can find operating instructions on the machines.

However, Jiang emphasized that students cannot totally rely on teachers to ensure their safety in labs. There is usually only one teacher in the lab for every 30 students. “The teacher goes around and inspects students, but he’s unlikely to be able to keep an eye on each one all the time,” said Jiang.

“Students need to follow instructions strictly and remain cautious about potential risks throughout experiments.”

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