Dimethylmercury & the Tragic Death of Karen Wetterhahn: Implications (Then & Now) in Laboratory Safety
The Laboratory Director’s Safety Council has invited the Executive Director of the Office for Research Safety at Northwestern University, Dr. Michael Blayney, to speak on Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, at 1 p.m., at the APS Auditorium.
Karen Wetterhahn was an internationally recognized bioinorganic chemist with more than twenty years of experience studying metal toxicity. She died in 1997 from a single acute exposure to dimethylmercury in the summer of 1996. The first report of this event to the scientific community occurred less than three months after the diagnosis and immediately after testing found that dimethylmercury almost instantaneously permeated the type of gloves she was wearing. Nearly twenty years later, the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr. Karen Wetterhahn remain relevant - underscoring many of the problems associated with limited or inadequate safety information when working with laboratory chemicals - especially unusual, highly toxic compounds.
Dr. Michael Blayney is an accomplished environmental health and safety professional with more than 30 years of scientific, technical, academic and regulatory management in the environment, safety and quality assurance field. Currently he is modernizing and redeveloping the research safety program at Northwestern University. His responsibilities include directing an office of 25 professionals and a budget of more than $2.5 million.
Blayney holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and environmental sciences from Hampshire College, a master’s degree in education and environmental science from Syracuse University and a Ph.D. in occupational health and safety from the University of Maryland, College Park.