Scope on Safety: Black lights—Don’t be in the dark by: Ken Roy

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Some middle school science teachers take advantage of black light technology phenomena and fluorescent materials in classroom demonstrations and laboratory investigations. Should they be concerned about students working with or being exposed to this area of the spectrum and if so, what safety precautions should be addressed? This month’s column provides the answers to these questions by providing some guidelines when working with black lights.

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Reviews (2)
  • on Fri May 18, 2012 9:31 AM

Who doesn’t like to see what fluoresces in the presence of a black light. With this said one should really understand what ‘black light’ is really composed of. UV light comes in three varieties – UVA, UVB and UVC. While all are found in nature the UVB and UVC are the rays to most be concerned about. They have shorter wavelengths and therefore higher energy and can do damage to skin and eyes. If you use a UV light source as a demo you should be aware of safety concerns and safety rules for both the student and the teacher. This article will help you understand the best way to address these issues.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:40 AM

Safety in the Classroom is more than just common sense. Teachers need to be well informed and knowledgeable about how to use the equipment and materials they bring to their classrooms. The black light is an outstanding example of how common sense is not enough. Teachers might assume that all "black lights" are safe. Why is a black light that is designed specifically for entertainment purposes okay for classroom use and another type of UV light dangerous? Teachers should know the answer to this BEFORE they incorporate black lights into their classroom activities. Ignorance could expose students and teachers to permanent eye damage. As teachers, we have a responsibility to practice the highest standards of safety.

Carolyn Mohr  (Buffalo Grove, IL)
Carolyn Mohr (Buffalo Grove, IL)

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