A student at Boston College was injured when a beaker exploded during an experiment, forcing the evacuation of the Merkert Chemistry Center, the Boston Globe reported.
The student was reportedly working alone in the lab with thionyl chloride — a substance used in organic chemistry experiments. A violent chemical reaction left her with cuts on her face and burns on her hands, according to a fire department spokesperson. The student, who recently completed her doctoral program, left the lab to get medical treatment while fellow students contact the Boston College police. The department summoned Boston firefighters.
Earlier this year our Boston injury attorneys reported on our Boston Personal Injury Attorney Blog about the death of a Yale Student in a machine shop class.
In this case, fire crews and a hazmat team responded shortly before 11 a.m. and were on scene for several hours. The student underwent a decontamination shower in a mobile unit and was taken to St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center.
After her injuries, she reportedly put a towel on her cuts and drove herself home, which complicated decontamination efforts. Crews were also called to decontaminate her car and apartment.
A chemistry professor responded to the lab and told emergency crews to dilute the thionyl chloride with large amounts of water. Boston College also brought in a cleanup company. Cause of the action remains unclear. The chemical can react strongly to moisture and can be dangerous to humans if inhaled. The report said it’s uncommon for students to work alone in the lab but that department guidelines do not forbid it. Still, another graduate student said researchers are warned not to work with dangerous or potentially explosive chemicals by themselves.
In the April incident, a Yale student was killed after being pulled into a piece of equipment in the machine shop by her long hair. In the wake of the incident, monitors and machine shop supervisors were required to take a safety course and to be trained on how to deal with emergency situations.
If you have been injured in a Massachusetts School Accident contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 877-617-5333.
Student injured in Boston College Chemistry Accident, by Ben Wolford and Vivian Yee, Boston Globe.