H2-Slow To Act

, , , , , | Working | February 26, 2019

Back in the early 2000s, our lab where we analyzed drug products moved to a new facility. This location was fully contained and boasted, among other things, an automatic washer for laboratory glassware — quite important when you’re analyzing stuff.

Despite this “state of the art” facility, some of us started noticing spots on our glassware. I, for one, began rewashing the glassware myself, by hand. My boss didn’t like my spending my time that way, but I managed to make it sufficiently speedy that he pretty much was unaware I was doing it.

Some years later, several of us were having trouble with our assays. Management basically refused to listen to our complaint about the glassware, and the problem seemed to get worse and worse. Finally, a young PhD took it upon himself to investigate further and determined that the spots on our glassware were not merely water spots — which shouldn’t have been there, anyway — but were residual detergent, quite capable of messing up many assays.

He then investigated the dishwashing facility and determined that not only were they not rinsing glassware with deionized water, but they also weren’t even rinsing it with tap water. It seems the washer was plumbed wrong and was recycling wash water where it should have used fresh water.

All of this could have severely compromised our analytical results — which were being reported to the government — but management just swept the problem under the rug like it never happened!

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