Lab Safety 101: Small Safety Glasses, Hazardous Chemicals, and More!

Bolle Nitro Small Goggles

Smaller goggles like the Bolle Nitro are designed for small faces and provide better protection.

No matter your age, doesn’t it seem like just yesterday you were in junior high or high school, and carrying out experiments in biology or chemistry lab? You probably wore those hulking clear safety glasses with the rubber band backs, those gloves that were just always too big, and lab aprons that just hung off of you. Yet, you managed to get through it without any mishaps (thankfully!), and you’re excited to see your own children participate in biology and chem labs. You want your kids to be even safer than you were in lab, so let’s pull out our pencils and take notes on Lab Safety 101!

#1: The Better The Fit, The More Safe Your Child Is.
It’s no secret that ill-fitting lab safety equipment just isn’t going to do a whole lot when it comes to your child’s safety. Plus, who wants to wear those huge clear safety glasses for an hour…in junior high school, of all places?! Instead, pick out a pair of Small Safety Glasses with your child – they’re designed to fit smaller faces, and come in colors ranging from blue to pink, and even purple. Oh, and did we mention they’re ANSI Z87.1-2003 certified, to boot? Lab safety glasses, the way!

#2: Save the eating and drinking for the cafeteria.
Kids have ravenous appetites, don’t they? Explain the importance of holding their appetite until they reach the cafeteria – at least when it comes to lab class! Take note – there’s a much greater likelihood that your child will accidentally taste something he or she isn’t meant to, if they’re already eating or drinking in their lab.

#3: Long hair and flames just don’t mix.
Working with a Bunsen burner? It’s so much fun to use them, but you don’t want to risk your child singeing his or her hair. On lab days, be sure to tuck an extra hair tie in their bag for them, and let them know what it’s there for. Be sure their small safety glasses are packed, too!

#4: Assume all chemicals are hazardous.
We teach our kids to “never assume”, but when it comes to working in the lab, it’s better to assume that each and every chemical on the shelf is hazardous. This helps kids from innocently testing out what that water-like chemical tastes like, only to discover it wasn’t water at all.

#5: The golden rule: Pour acids into water.
Remember your teacher repeating this one over and over to you? Your child’s teacher is likely doing the same, but it never hurts to hear it from you, too. Doing the opposite and pour water into acid will cause the water to explode into steam, which could cause burns and noxious fumes, even while wearing small safety glasses.

Junior high and high school biology and chemistry labs are memories we’ll never forget, and we know you want your children to reflect back on the frogs and beakers and have only positive memories. You’ll get an A+ in lab safety for choosing small safety glasses, like our Crews Blackjack Elite Safety Glasses, for your child. Brrrring goes the school bell – time to head to lab class!

Prescription-Ready Safety Glasses: The Epitome of Convenience

Smith Elite Optics Hudson Tactical Sunglasses

Many styles of safety glasses and goggles can be fitted with prescription lenses.

If Safety Glasses USA told you they had 50 styles of prescription-ready safety glasses — just waiting for the installation of your specific lenses which promise to become one of the most indispensable parts of your life and work — would you be incredibly impressed?

Then sit down.

Because we have 200+ prescription-ready safety glasses to choose from! And what about prescription-ready safety goggles? Yup! We offer 62 goggle styles by top brands such as Bolle, ESS, Pyramex,  Wiley X, and more. We even have “convertibles”. Six styles by Bobster give you the best of both worlds. With the push of a button, the (included) interchangeable temple pieces and goggle strap give you all the versatility you’ve ever dreamed of when your safety glasses become safety goggles.

Some of our most popular prescription-ready brands and models include:

Edge Eyewear

  • Dakura Safety Glasses: The hottest-selling glasses in the US combine a wrap-around, anti-distortion frame, with a fog- and scratch-resistant coating, in a style that fits any kind of work or play. Meets ANSI Z87.1+ 2003 compliance standards, as well as U.S. Military Eyewear Ballistic Impact Resistance Requirements.
  • Khor Polarized Safety Sunglasses: Designed with sophisticated styling and superior comfort, Khor offers three interchangeable lens colors with 99.9% protection from UVA/UVB/UVC rays. Meets ANSI Z87.1+ 2003 compliance standards, as well as U.S. Military Eyewear Ballistic Impact Resistance Requirements.
  • Brazeau Safety Sunglasses: Cutting-edge fashion in a bold and contemporary design, Edge’s Brazeau also provides 99.9% protection from UVA/UVB/UVC rays, and meets ANSI Z87.1+ 2003 compliance standards and U.S. Military Eyewear Ballistic Impact Resistance Requirements.

ESS CDI Sunglasses: These lightweight, high-impact sunglass are first in their class. Available in five colors, the CDI’s extra-thick polycarbonate lenses can be easily switched for quick adaptation to your environment. Their high-speed, low-drag frame and shatter-resistant lenses make the CDI comfortable and cool enough for downtime, yet functional and rugged enough for the battlefield. Meets ANSI Z87.1+ 2003 compliance standards, as well as U.S. Military Eyewear Ballistic Impact Resistance Requirements.

Revision Hellfly: Whether you’re on or off duty, these sunglasses offer essential protection from unexpected debris in your environment. Exceeding stringent impact resistance requirements and optical tests, Hellfly Sunglasses provide military-level protection, perfect optics, and 100% UVA/UVB/UVC protection. Includes microfiber cleaning cloth and storage case.

Smith Optics Elite

  • Hudson Tactical Ballistic Safety Glasses: Ultra-cool, understated, street-wise frame style combined with the performance Smith Optics is famous for. Proprietary high-impact lens materials meet ANSI Z87.1 standard for optics and MIL-PRF-31013 standard for impact. Made in the USA.
  • Chamber Tactical Ballistic Sunglasses: With full-coverage style, these glasses are a great choice for any activity from duck hunting to patrol duty. Proprietary high-impact lens materials meet ANSI Z87.1 standard for optics and MIL-PRF-31013 standard for impact. Made in the USA.

Wiley X

  • SG-1 Goggles: Inspired by our military elite, this eyewear system protects you from foreign particles in the air or wind. The durable Ultra Foam™ rubber-based rim seals your eyes from debris and protects against extreme changes in weather or body temperature, while the interchangeable anti-fog lenses fit beneath a helmet for stylish wear, day or night.
  • AirRage Sunglasses: With a removable facial cavity seal featuring a symmetrical venting system that allows cool air to naturally enter the frame, these sunglasses come with a soft case,  elastic strap, leash cord, and cleaning cloth. Meets ANSI Z87.1-2003+ high velocity safety standard.
  • Romer II Sunglasses: Fashion and function fuse in this powerful design made to withstand almost anything hurled at you. Aerodynamic features cut through wind and debris, preventing  interference of vision. E ANSI Z87.1 and CE certified. Meets the Military’s MIL-PRF-31013 Ballistic Standard.

Because it’s extremely important to Safety Glasses USA that we bring you only the most trusted names in safety, we only chose prescription-ready safety glasses and goggles that have been tested, certified, and stamped for ANSI Z87+ compliance. The range of prescription strengths available across brands and models do vary, and not every style allows for every strength, but with almost 300 to choose from, we’re confident you’ll find one that works for you — in a style you’ll love!

And if all these choices leave you feeling a bit overwhelmed, let us help. We pride ourselves on our outstanding customer service. Our friendly, expert staff is here to answer all your questions and help you find exactly the right brand and style for you, Monday-Friday, 8AM-7PM EST at 800-870-6189.

Safety Eyewear in the Kitchen: For Adventurous Chefs to Everyday Cooks

Extreme Cooking Safety

You don't have to resort to extremes to practice good safety habits in the kitchen.

In July 2010, a deep-fried dumpling almost cost food blogger Gabriella Zagreb her eyesight. Leaning over her pot of boiling oil to dislodge a stuck dumpling with a spoon, the dumpling cracked open and released steam and moisture into the hot oil, sending an explosion right up into her face. Gabriella’s neck, chin, cheeks, eyelids, eyelashes, and eyebrows were severely burned, causing a few weeks of temporary blindness. Today the blogger has her eyesight back, but still has discernible scars. They remind her every day of the lesson she learned: that each year hundreds of people are injured — sometimes temporarily or even permanently blinded — in cooking accidents involving steam, hot oil, splattered grease, and more, all because they weren’t wearing protective eyewear in the kitchen. And in these situations, oven mitts are certainly not the protective gear that’ll ensure your ability to forever see the food you put in your mouth before you taste it.

From Mainstream to Extreme, Cooking is More Fun when Done Safely
As you’ve just read, cooking has the potential to be quite dangerous and the more experimental and adventurous you are, the more you need to consider safety. (In fact, read how to safely deep fry a turkey here). And while some culinary artists take their creations to the extreme, as you’ll read below,  wherever you fall on the spectrum — from basic domestic god or goddess to avant-garde gastronomic adventurist — you’ll find protective eyewear both useful and necessary.

Handy Hint: Wear Safety Goggles for Chopping Onions
When you cut an onion, you slice open cells that contain a certain amino acid that then mixes with other enzymes in the vegetable, releasing a volatile sulfur compound into the air. When this gas reacts with the natural moisture in your eyes, sulfuric acid is formed. The sulfuric acid stimulates your tear ducts to wash this irritant away. So if you want to avoid streaming eyes, ruined makeup, and looking like your dog just died right before your dinner guests arrive, wear goggles while chopping up the onions for your favorite recipe. 

Fancy Flames: Butane Torches Require Safety Glasses
Used as a finishing tool for many culinary delights, butane torches are probably best known for adding   a crème brulée’s golden crown — that crispy, melt-in-your-mouth, stained-glass candy top. Usually small in size, these torches use a pressurized container filled with butane gas and an igniter to light the flame, which can be adjusted from about 1/2” to 1” in length. Since theses torches are filled with a pressurized, flammable fuel, it’s important to follow safety procedures and wear safety glasses when using them. Understanding your specific tool’s features, how to properly operate and store it and keeping it away from children are also on the list of necessary safety protocols. But if Baked Alaska, melted cheese and breaded toppings on onion soup or gratins, and vegetables roasted to perfection call your name, a butane torch is a wonderfully fun cooking tool. Desserts with meringue or marshmallow topping can easily be toasted, and chili peppers or sweet peppers can achieve the darkened, roasted texture and flavor you desire with just a touch of your torch.

Sensuous Smoke: Safety Glasses a Must for the Smoking Gun
Smoked hardwood flavor can be intensely gratifying to your palate. A clever tool called The Smoking Gun allows you to sprinkle hardwood sawdust into a reservoir at the top, light it, and instantly infuse real smoke into your roasted meats, fish, vegetables, marinades — even salads and Bloody Mary mixes. But you’ll want to wear at least a basic pair of safety glasses while using this machine, considering you’re using an open flame to ignite specially treated sawdust; and — especially while performing some of the more technically difficult uses which involve sticking the hose down into blenders, stand mixers, and food processors full of potentially hot, sticky food substances  — depending on how many “smoked” Bloody Marys you’ve had while preparing the rest of your courses, expect that the unexpected could end up in your face and eyes.

Solar Sauté: Magnifying Sunlight = Safety Goggles and Protective Gloves
Moving deeper into the world of experiential cooking, Denise Rojas of GreenPowerScience shows in this video how flash cooking using a giant Fresnel Lens can scramble two eggs in ten seconds or boil water in 90. Originally invented by French physicist Augustin-Jean Fresnel for lighthouses, when positioned correctly, a Fresnel lens acts as a giant magnifying glass that concentrates light to a very small point, resulting in a hot spot which can reach up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. In this realm of “extreme cooking”, these scientist-chefs know the importance of safety. Wearing both protective goggles and gloves is critical when cooking with the intense power of the sun. 

Lava Flambé: Safety Goggles and Gloves Needed for a Volcanic Adventure
For perhaps the most adventurous chefs of all, there are currently two active volcanoes, Kilauea and Mauna Loa, located on the Big Island of Hawaii. John Alexander, owner of the Dolphin Bay Hotel in Hilo, Hawaii, shares his own special recipe for cooking with molten lava.

Tools and ingredients include:

  1. A supply of molten lava: approximately 2 shovels-full.
  2. A shovel you’ll never use again.
  3. Safety goggles and heavy protective gloves
  4. A game hen
  5. Eight banana leaves

“Wrap the game hen in the banana leaves (leave a small opening to vent escaping steam) and place it on one scoop of lava. This becomes the base of the “oven.” Top the leaves with the other scoop of lava and let it cool. Within about 45 minutes, the lava cools; the banana leaves burn to ash; and your hen is ready to eat. Opening your “oven” is easy: just hit the hardened lava with your shovel.”

Safety tip: be sure to select a slow-moving lava flow. Some have been clocked at speeds up to 37 miles per hour!

Liquid Nitrogen Novelties: Ice Cream in Five Minutes Flat Requires Proper Goggles and Gloves
Naturally, let’s end our romp through the creative culinary world with dessert: a frosty bowl of liquid nitrogen ice cream.

You need:

  1. Liquid nitrogen: Approximately 2 liters for an average recipe.
  2. Safety goggles and heavy gloves: The liquid nitrogen is cold enough to freeze skin on contact. Even ice cream can’t make a trip to the emergency room more fun, so be careful handling the ingredients.
  3. Your favorite homemade ice cream recipe
  4. A large stainless steel mixing bowl
  5. A wooden spoon

Put on your safety goggles and gloves and pour the prepared ice cream mixture into the stainless steel bowl. Slowly pour the liquid nitrogen into the ice cream and stir with the wooden spoon until it’s frozen and the nitrogen has evaporated, approximately five to ten minutes. Serve immediately. Stir in more liquid nitrogen if it starts to melt too quickly. (Read more about the safe handling of liquid nitrogen, as well as more fun culinary experiments here.)

So although it’s possible you may never expect to do anything more exciting than boil water in your kitchen, it’s always best to be prepared for the day you might find yourself actually cooking with hot oil or grease and need a pair of protective eyewear. (Ladies, Safety Glasses USA sells an entire line of safety glasses styled especially for you and scaled to fit a woman’s smaller face.)  So just remember Gabriella’s story. She certainly didn’t expect her seemingly innocent nudge of a stuck dumpling to blind her for three weeks, but it happened — literally — faster than the blink of an eye. Don’t let it happen to you too.