Month: January 2022

Annual JHU Freezer Challenge

Did you know that ultra-low temperature freezers consume as much electricity annually as a typical single-family home? Lower your lab’s carbon footprint and challenge your cold storage practices by taking part in the Freezer Challenge. Supported by the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL) and My Green Lab, this challenge is designed to promote best practices in cold storage management for laboratories around the world.

The annual competition operates from January to July and the top JHU winners will be awarded a cash prize. In addition, the overall winner of the international challenge will be featured in Nature magazine and awarded during the annual I2SL conference.

To learn more, please register for a virtual information session next Tuesday, January 18th, from 11:00 am to noon, or fill out this participation interest form.

To learn more about our other Green Labs initiatives, please visit: or email [email protected].

STEM Graduate Student Wellness Seminar: Sleep and Mindfulness

The JHU Center for Health Education and Wellness and the Homewood Laboratory Safety Advocate are pleased to present a student wellness seminar on “Sleep and Mindfulness,” scheduled for January 25, 10:30-11:30 am on Zoom. Molly Hutchison of CHEW will be the presenter.

While these topics have direct relevance to lab safety, they apply to all students; it’s a health seminar, not a specifically “safety” seminar. Students from all STEM departments are invited to attend.

To register, use the following link:

Questions about the seminar can be directed to Dr. Daniel Kuespert, Laboratory Safety Advocate, at [email protected] or 410-516-5525

Substitutes for Mercury in Lab

Although its use is declining, some of our laboratories still use elemental mercury metal. Two places mercury is commonly found are manometers and thermometers.
Mercury is quite toxic, volatile (it evaporates into the air where you can breathe it in), and can be difficult to clean up. University policy is that mercury should be eliminated from all possible applications.

Substitutes are available for almost all uses of mercury. For example, modern thermometers offer the same or better accuracy and precision as a mercury thermometer, using an alcohol-based fluid. A manometer can be traded out for a pressure transducer whose performance is probably superior to the old manometer. (Manometers really provide accuracies of only about 2%, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology.)

If you have mercury in your lab, whether a vial of liquid metal, an old thermometer, or a manometer for pressure measurement, please contact Health, Safety & Environment at 410-516-8798 and ask for it to be removed. If you need assistance finding a suitable replacement instrument, please contact Dr. Dan Kuespert, Laboratory Safety Advocate, at [email protected] or 410-516-5525.