Chemical health and safety news from the past week:
- Theo Gray learned why glove compatibility is important:
As the toluene evaporated, the white phosphorus did what its name implies—it phosphoresced, reacting with oxygen from the air to produce a luminous gas fractions of an inch above the surface of my hand. This reaction is not just risky to create, it’s also difficult to photograph. We used the best low-light camera available to get it to show up so well.
To the dark-adapted human eye, though, it looks bright, and frankly rather alarming, especially when I took the gloves off and realized that toluene goes through latex.
- Dogs accidentally poison veterinarians: rodenticide zinc phosphide + stomach acid + induced vomiting = phosphine gas in the clinic
- U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis mentioned Sheri Sangji in a piece for Workers Memorial Day (April 28)
- Poor safety record no bar to winning government construction contracts
Fires and explosions:
- An explosion at a Mitsui Chemicals plant in Japan killed one and injured 11 workers
- A broken elbow joint led to molten glas sspilling at a Johns Manville facility in Indiana; “the glass spread throughout the building and threatened to destroy the structure”
- A teacher and three students were burned in a fire in a New York middle school science class; the demonstration involved–yes, you guessed it–methanol
Leaks, spills, and other exposures:
- Roughly 53 liters of toluene spilled in an industrial park in Calgary, Canada
- The University of Virginia chemistry department got a visit from fire and hazmat crews over venting (liquid?) nitrogen tanks
Not covered: meth labs; ammonia leaks; incidents involving floor sealants, cleaning solutions, or pool chemicals; transportation spills; and fires from oil, natural gas, or other fuels.