A West Virginia University employee whose name is synonymous with careful lab practices will help lead national efforts to revise safety standards for handling chemicals.

Barbara Foster , safety director of the C. Eugene Bennett Department of Chemistry and safety program coordinator for the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences , has been named co-chair of the U.S. National Academies Committee on Prudent Practices in the Laboratory: An Update.

I am very honored and pleased to be included in this important project,Foster said.The book that we will revise is the definitive reference book on laboratory safety and one that I have always held in very high regard.

The committee will modify the existing content and add content as required to reflect new fields and developments that have occurred since the publication of the 1995 edition ofPrudent Practices in the Laboratory: Handling and Disposal of Chemicals.Emphasis will be given throughout to the concept of aculture of safetyand how that culture can be established and nurtured. Both laboratory operations and the adverse impacts those operations might have on the surrounding environment and community will be considered.

Foster was invited to serve as a co-chair of the committee because of her unique expertise in the area of laboratory safety and her advocacy of safe laboratory practice within the environmental health and safety and chemistry communities.


Foster supervises all aspects of student laboratories in the C. Eugene Bennett Department of Chemistry, including safety training, laboratory operation, ensuring adherence to safety regulations and building code and conducting inspections. She has written more than 20 chapters and papers and presented over 40 invited lectures on chemical safety. In 2007, she served as the chair of the American Chemical Society Division of Chemical Health and Safety. She has a bachelors degree in biology from WVU .

Following publication of a report to be published by the U.S. National Academies Press, Foster will advise the National Academies on the development of additional materials based on the report.

A request to serve the National Academies is a prestigious honor and speaks to the caliber of professionals employed by the Eberly College,Dean Mary Ellen Mazey said.Barbara Foster is a consummate professional dedicated to laboratory safety, and we are fortunate to have her on our team.

The committee is funded by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Department of Energy and American Chemical Society, and is meeting under the auspices of the National AcademiesBoard on Chemical Sciences and Technology. Foster will co-chair the committee with William F. Carroll, vice president of Occidental Chemical Corp. in Dallas, adjunct industrial professor of chemistry at Indiana University and former president of the American Chemical Society.

The National Academies perform an unparalleled public service by bringing together committees of experts in all areas of scientific and technological endeavor. These experts serve pro bono to address critical national issues and give advice to the federal government and the public.

Four organizations make up the Academies: the National Academy of Sciences , National Academy of Engineering , Institute of Medicine and National Research Council .