Student Area - Safety Guidelines for Experimentation, p. 1

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Safety Guidelines for Experimentation

Safety is the watchword when exhibiting at all science fairs. Without exception, the highest standards of safety are required. The following are safety measures of particular concern.

Glassware Hazards
No glassware may be displayed. Plastic containers should be substituted for glass. Any container that holds water or other spillable substance, such as salt, or sugar must be secured in a stable manner.

Chemical Hazards
Chemicals that present any possible hazard may not be displayed. Since few chemicals are safe, substitute colored water and/or table salt or use photographs or drawings. Refer to the Merck Index and/or The Handbook of Chemistry and Physics to determine potential hazards of any chemicals that are to be studied. Only sodium chloride (NaCl) and sucrose (table sugar - C 12 H 22 O 11 ) crystals may be displayed. Drugstore products, such as toothpaste, deodorant, mouthwash, antacids, sleep aids, aspirin, sunscreens, and so forth, may not be displayed, although their clean, empty packages may be displayed. Water in plastic bags and glass containers may not be displayed. All vessels containing any materials must be adequately sealed.

Hazardous Materials
Explosive, flammable, corrosive, or highly poisonous substances are not to be brought to any exhibit area. This includes gasoline, alcohol, and lighter fluids. Armed rockets or their propellants are prohibited. Cylinders of compressed gas or aerosol cans are not allowed in the display area. Automobile storage batteries containing sulfuric acid are not allowed. All other substances must be shielded in such a way that maximum protection is provided for spectators, neighboring exhibitors, and the student exhibitor.

Fire Hazards
Open flames, torches, or burners are not to be used. Electrical heating units must be well protected and must not be near the front of the exhibit. Electrical units are not to be connected except upon judge’s request. Hotplates must be mounted on a noncombustible insulating material.

Radiation Hazards
Projects dealing with radiation, either from cathode ray, X-ray, or radioactive materials, must present no hazard to the public or the student exhibitor. If there is any doubt as to the safety of the project, contact the Chicago Public SchoolsStudent Science Fair, Inc. Safety Chair, Edward Holmes at Lewis Academy, GSR #36, or Email

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