Some students have sensitivities to chemicals used in science labs. These sensitivities can range from allergies to one or two specific chemicals to a generalized condition such as Multiple Chemical Sensitivity.
A student with chemical sensitivities and their instructor can brainstorm alternatives that allow the student to participate as fully as possible in lab activities. Possible solutions include the following:
- Utilizing portable hoods for demonstrations.
- Providing the student with a filtration mask.
- Substituting alternate chemicals in lab protocols.
- Seating the student near a window that opens.
- Using HEPA filters in the ventilation system.
- Maintaining a lab environment which is free of other pollutants such as fragrances, toxic cleaning agents, and tobacco smoke.
When these accommodations are not sufficient to allow a student to participate, other flexible learning arrangements may need to be considered. For example, labs could be videotaped or students could complete computer-based simulations.