Denver student hit in chest with jet of flaming methanol
Sep17

Denver student hit in chest with jet of flaming methanol

New incident, same message: Don’t pour alcohol anywhere near a possible flame. At a press briefing yesterday, Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board investigators spoke about what they’ve learned so far regarding an incident at a Denver high school that sent four students to the hospital on Monday: The teacher lit a small pool of methanol to demonstrate its flame properties. When the flame didn’t rise as high as...

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CSB warns against using methanol in classroom or lab demos
Sep15

CSB warns against using methanol in classroom or lab demos

Following up on the flash fire during a “tornado” demo in a Nevada museum, the U.S. Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board released a statement today containing details of the incident and warning against using methanol in combustion demonstrations. CSB investigators responded to the museum fire, and their description of what happened confirms what the Associated Press reported: Our investigative team determined...

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David Snyder pled no contest to all charges in UC Davis explosives case
Sep12

David Snyder pled no contest to all charges in UC Davis explosives case

Former University of California, Davis postdoctoral chemist David Snyder was headed to trial next month on 17 explosives, hazardous waste, and firearms charges stemming from a 2013 explosion in his campus apartment. At a hearing today that was supposed to deal with legal motions prior to an Oct. 20 trial start, Snyder pled no contest to all of the charges, according to an update from the Yolo County District Attorney’s office:...

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Tornado simulation results in methanol fire, children burned
Sep08

Tornado simulation results in methanol fire, children burned

Take-home message (again): Don’t pour alcohol anywhere near a possible flame. Last week, a flash fire at the Discovery Museum in Reno, Nev., sent two adult and seven children to a local hospital for burns and smoke inhalation. The demo that led to the fire was a tornado simulation, in which a colored flame is rotated in a mesh container to create a whirling effect. The details of what happened are still a bit unclear, but it...

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More details on the University of Minnesota explosion and response
Jul30

More details on the University of Minnesota explosion and response

On June 17, an explosion in a chemistry lab at the University of Minnesota injured graduate student Walter Partlo. He was making trimethylsilyl azide, starting with 200 g of sodium azide. The incident originated in lack of hazard awareness, school representatives say, and the department response focuses on identifying hazardous processes and communication. The synthesis was based on previously published methods, with some...

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Safety agency news mini-round-up
Jul01

Safety agency news mini-round-up

I know that many blog readers like the chemical safety news round-ups, which went on hiatus for many months while I was busy with other things. I’m hoping to make a fresh start on those in a couple of weeks, after I return from vacation. This week my goal is to clean out my safety items folder, and as part of that I’m aiming to do a post a day with a few things each. Today is government agency day. Occupational Safety...

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