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Analytical in the GCC December 22, 2008

Posted by fetzthechemist in Musings.

The Gulf Cooperative Council nations of Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman have had the image of being woefully behind the times in their chemistry labs. This image was fostered by decades of relying on outsiders to run and operate their labs. this has changed over the past decade.

Lab people in the GCC are now better educated. The labs are better equipped. Part of this has been the expansion of the view being outward from oil to include environmental and other issues, particularly water quality and food safety.

I visited the main lab of the Abu Dhabi (one of the emirates in the UAE) food safetyagency. It was very large, numerous labs in both chemical analysis and microbiology. The staff was both knowledgable and enthusiastic about the work. They had lots of the instruments we see in similar labs in the US or Europe – HPLCs, GCs, UVs, et cetera. They were setting up one very expensive high-end instrument, an ICP-MS for ultratrace analyses.

I was impressed overall by the advances I saw there and learned of in talking to others.

On one negative note, however, was the almost total lack of safety practices we use. Nobody wore lab glasses, or used lab gloves (although most people wore lab coats), safe shoes were an happenstance, as sandals were very common footwear. The most glaring, to me, was that no gas cylinders were clamped or tied down to benches or a wall. Future things to pass on, I guess.



1. Ψ*Ψ - December 23, 2008

The lack of safety glasses, that I can understand. Unsecured cylinders, though?! That’s pretty crazy. (You DID see that episode of Mythbusters where the cylinder shot through a cinderblock wall, right? Pretty unforgettable.)

2. Enlargement - January 16, 2009

I am amazed with it. It is a good thing for my research. Thanks

3. Natural - January 18, 2009

I think you are thinking like sukrat, but I think you should cover the other side of the topic in the post too…

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