Using Your Phone In The Lab – Helpful or Harmful?

For as long as mobile phones have been around, they have also been banned from the labs. The reasons are various, from keeping a distraction away, to not wanting cellular interference with the machines. However, the practices of allowing a researcher’s cell phone in the lab might be starting to shift.

Many people say their lives are on their phones, so why would it be any different when you enter the lab?

Below are potential benefits to consider:

Better Connections: One of the greatest perks of mobile phones is the quick ability to connect with another person. But these connections could also include immediate assistance for your method development or analysis from Technical Experts. These fast connections could enhance your experience and your results in the lab just by messaging experts, like those at Phenomenex found via Live Chat who are there to help 24/7 with any chromatography question you might have.

Easy Access to Tools: Wouldn’t it be easier to simply access that technical note or application you need to reference for your analysis on your phone than having to walk all the way back to your computer in your office? Or worse! Waste paper by printing it out? By allowing the use of phones or tablets to easily download a technical reference, it can easily save you time and give you potentially better results in your analysis.

Save Time and Money: Saving time is a no-brainer. That has been established. However, by saving time in the lab and not having to run back and forth between your office, the resource stack, or to another colleague for answers, you can have everything you’re looking for in the palm of your hand. By saving time, you are also essentially saving money. You are able to start running your analysis’ earlier, faster, and more efficiently because you had all the resources you needed from the beginning.

Lab Safety: Below are a few reasons as to why it wouldn’t be safe to have phones in a lab, however, there are a few safety hazards that phones could help eliminate. Fire is the main one. By allowing someone to use their mobile phone or tablet in a lab, this cancels out the need to print out resources and charts, eliminating the use of paper in the lab. This will also help to organize and clear up a scientists’ lab bench space, which can always be a safety hazard. Discover other ways you can clean up your lab bench with our article, “Does Your Lab Bench Space Spark Joy for You?”.

As cellular technology and new applications are growing rapidly, it is becoming more clear that cell phones will continue to play an important role of how data is collected, communicated, and managed by scientists.

Other than the possibility of distraction, there is also safety reason sas to why phones may not be permitted in the lab.

Below are potential dangers to consider:

Cell Phone Flames: Whether a cell phone signal can or cannot ignite fumes seems to be under debate with researchers. However, if you are permitted to use cell phones in the lab, make sure to exercise caution while using a cell phone around fumes, vapors, and chemicals in the lab.

Mobile Petri Dishes: A recent study has shown that cell phones can have up to 18 times more harmful bacteria than a toilet handle. Many believe that this could cause a problem when the phone is taken into a lab.

Running Interference: Cell phones are known to interfere with electronics. So is it be possible that cell phones could interfere with equipment being used in a lab? And if so, how would that affect results from any tests being run?

Glove Conundrum: When in the lab, researchers are required to wear gloves for safety reasons. However, if they are being forced to constantly take their gloves off to use their cell phones this could pose a threat of coming in contact with contaminants.

These are just some ideas to consider, but are still valid reasons to keep cell phones out of the lab. However, do the pros outweigh the cons? We would love to hear your thoughts! And if there is a benefit or hazard we didn’t list, let us know by commenting below. If you have any questions remember to reach out to our Technical Experts via Live Chat.

We Want Your Opinion! Take our poll to see if your phone belongs or not:

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