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A white coat or laboratory coat (often abbreviated to lab coat) is a knee-length overcoat/smock worn by professionals in the medical field or by those involved in laboratory work. The coat protects their street clothes and also serves as a simple uniform. The garment is made from white or light-coloured cotton, linen, or cotton polyester blend, allowing it to be washed at high temperature and make it easy to see if it is clean.
Similar coats are a symbol of learning in Argentina, where they are worn by students. In Tunisia and Mozambique, teachers wear white coats to protect their street clothes from chalk.
Like the word "suit", the phrase "white coat" is sometimes used as a synecdoche to denote the wearer, such as a scientist working in a high-tech company.
White coats are sometimes seen as the distinctive dress of physicians, who have worn them for over 100 years. In the nineteenth century, respect for the certainty of science was in stark contrast to the quackery and mysticism of nineteenth century medicine. To emphasize the transition to the more scientific approach to modern medicine, physicians sought to represent themselves as scientists, and began to wear the most recognizable symbol of the scientist, the white laboratory coat.
Recently, white coat ceremonies have become popular amongst those starting medical school.
The modern white coat was introduced to medicine in the late 1800s as a symbol of cleanliness.
White coat hypertension
They're coming to take me away ho ho hee hee ha haaa!
White versus black
White coat ceremony
In 2007, the UK National Health Service started banning long-sleeved coats.
In 2009, the American Medical Association investigated banning coats with long sleeves to protect patients, but did not institute a ban.
A study published in 2011 investigating the effectiveness of the NHS ban showed no statistical difference in contamination levels between residents wearing long-sleeved coats and those wearing short-sleeved scrubs.
In an effort to reduce the contamination of healthcare uniforms, ASTM International is developing standards to specifically address liquid penetration resistance, liquid repellency, bacterial decontamination, and Antimicrobial properties of such uniforms.
IN LABORATORY WORK
When used in the laboratory, lab coats protect against accidental spills, e.g., acids. In this case they usually have long sleeves and are made of an absorbent material, such as cotton, so that the user can be protected from the chemical. Some lab coats have buttons or elastic at the end of the sleeves, to secure them around the wrist so that they do not hang into beakers of chemicals. Short-sleeved lab coats also exist where protection from substances such as acid is not necessary, and are favoured by certain scientists, such as microbiologists, avoiding the problem of hanging sleeves altogether, combined with the ease of washing the forearms (an important consideration in microbiology).
USE AS A SCHOOL UNIFORM
White coats which resemble lab coats are worn by students and teachers of most public primary schools as a daily uniform in countries like Argentina, Uruguay, Spain and Bolivia. It also was formerly worn in past decades in Paraguay and Chile.
To read more about lab coats, please click on the following link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_coat