Date: Thu, 5 Nov 2009 16:55:36 -0700
Reply-To: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Alan Hall <ahalltoxic**At_Symbol_Here**MSN.COM>
Subject: Re: KU student critical after possible poisoning at school lab
In-Reply-To: <1200F040-76E8-4262-B2A9-54C95EC960E9**At_Symbol_Here**>

Second one in a short time after the incident with sodium azide poisoning i n a coffee machine at a lab at Harvard.  While inhalational p oisoning can occur with hydroazoic acid vapors, the usual route of poison ing with sodium azide is ingestion (it is not particulalry well-absorbed sy stemically through the skin although this is possible).
So is this a coincidence, a malignant "copy-cat" deliberate poisoning, just plain poor laboratory safety practices (making beverages in glassware , etc), or as we saw in between the 1983 Chicago acetaminophen-cyanide poisoning toxic terrorism incident and the 1986 similar occurrences in New York and Seattle, a person who became suicidal using a toxic substance th at was available.  No way to tell from the information available.
Unfortunately, most cyanide antidotes do not work against sodium azide, although there is some very speculative in vitro data that hydroxocobalami n might (and the emphasis must be very much on might) have some effect.
Alan H. Hall, M.D.
Toxicology Consulting and Medical Translating Services, Inc.
Laramie, WY
Clinical Assistant Professor
Colorado School of Public Health
Denver, CO

Date: Thu, 5 Nov 2009 17:09:32 -0500
From: ecgrants**At_Symbol_Here**UVM.EDU
Subject : [DCHAS-L] KU student critical after possible poisoning at school lab
T o: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU

KU student critical after possible poisoning at school lab

The Wichita Eagle
A University of Kansas graduate student is in critical condition at a Lawrence 
hospital this morning, the result of a suspected accidental sodium azide 
poisoning tha t may have occurred while he was working in a lab late 
Wednesday night, school officials said.

As a precaution, Malott Hall, w here the lab is located, was temporarily 
evacuated early today and was inspected by KU's Office of Environment, 
Health and S afety. The building later was reopened.

The university also sent tex t and e-mail messages to students, faculty and 
staff this morn ing to notify them of the situation. 

Read more:  ; FjtPFW


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