By choosing to test heavy metal sensors, several risks were prevalent from the start. As a team that tries to follow ethically and socially responsible research, this created a few problems. Cadmium alone is listed on the World’s Health Organization as a Top 10 Chemicals of Major Public Concern. To ensure safe handling and disposal of the heavy metals the team worked closely the the Environmental Health and Safety Department (EHS), and the following steps were conducted.
By following these procedures the dangers to both the lab personnel and to the environment are reduced to an acceptable level. Other methods are also being explored to further reduce the dangers.
The sensor was moved into E.coli as Staphylococcus aureus is a Level 2 Pathogenic Organism. This reduces the need to deal with potentially dangerous organisms. The sensing portion was also synthetically made by IDT to prevent the lab from working with S. aureus .