Chemicals are all around us. They make up, after all, every single thing. Even things we consider to be “natural” are made up of various chemical compositions. Studying and learning about these chemicals is something that has long been a hugely important process. Chemistry
and otherdates back centuries, with even radiocarbon dating first discovered more than 50 years ago in the year of 1946 (by a physicist of the name of Willard F. Libby). And there is certainly a lot that we have learned about various chemical compositions over the years. For one thing, we have found that every single element can exist as at least two isotopes, if not even more than that, that actually differ in the total number of neutrons that can be found around the nucleus.
We have also learned the necessary safety precautions that need to be taken for certain chemical compounds. Proper safety within the average laboratory is a must, especially when dealing with radiolabeled compounds. Radiolabeled compounds, after all, are far from uncommon. After all, even tritium is a radioactive isotope (for hydrogen, an element). And with a half life of more than 12 years (12 and a half years, to be more specific), it is clear how dangerous radiolabeled compounds might be if not taken seriously and given the proper precautions.
Here in the United States, taking these precautions is even more important. This is due to the fact that in this country alone, more chemical products are produced than anywhere else in the world. And with more than 800,000 people working for various chemical companies throughout the country, safety is most certainly imperative – especially when these chemical companies are pharmaceutical companies. After all, pharmaceutical products are really just chemical products, from radiolabeled compounds and beyond them. Treating these products with safety and a high level of care is something that will mean more customers and consumers will be able to benefit from them on a regular basis. Without such steps being taken, it is certainly far less likely that the product would ever be able to make it to customers in the first place.
Therefore, certain precautions must be taken – and must be taken as thoroughly as it is possible to do so. For instance, a laboratory should always be equipped with proper safety measures when using radiolabeled compounds or really any kind of chemical. Fume hoods are particularly necessary. In fact, fume hoods are so very important that they need to be inspected at least once throughout the course of the typical year. In addition to this, the person who inspects the fume hood should be an independent certifier who is able to properly assess the airflow of the hood and make sure that it aligns with the guidelines set forth by Cal/OSHA. Replacing a fume hood can also be critical, with up to one fifth of all labs planning to soon trade out their current fume hoods for new ones. In addition to this, up to one third of these fume hood replacements need to occur simply because the fume hood in use has reached the end of its natural lifespan.
Proper storage, like gmp storage, of chemicals, particularly of pharmaceuticals, is critical as well. After all, many a pharmaceutical product actually needs to be refrigerated in order to stay in consumable condition – and to be safe for people to take. If such storage standards are not met, the results can unfortunately be disastrous. For instance, a fungal meningitis outbreak that occurred back in the year of 2012 was attributed to a lack of proper maintenance at the pharmacy from which the outbreak stemmed. Unfortunately, 48 lives were lost in total due to this event. But we have learned from our mistakes and more standards are in place to prevent such a thing from ever happening again.
From radiolabeled compounds to gmp storage conditions to proper laboratory maintenance, there is most certainly a lot that goes into the care and keeping of various chemical products, including pharmaceutical drugs. Fortunately, our standards for this care and keeping are higher than ever before.