Date: Wed, 2 Jun 2010 08:46:26 -0400
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Subject: Chemical Safety headlines from Google

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us_ga: Tech students badly burned behind frat house   
Two Georgia Tech students were seriously burned early Wednesday in a chemical explosion behind a fraternity house.
The incident happened about 12:30 a.m. at the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity house at the intersection of 6th Street and Techwood Drive.
The men, ages 20 and 21, were burned as they tried to mix aluminum powder and rust powder.
A Georgia Tech spokeswoman identified the two as Tommy Keen, a sophomore aerospace engineering student from Peachtree City, and Paul Grzybowski, a junior materials science student from Appling.
The students were taken to Grady Memorial Hospital for treatment of first- and second-degree burns to their upper bodies. Both were listed in critical condition.
"Georgia Tech's primary concern is focused on the condition and well-being of the students involved in this incident," Tech spokeswoman Lisa Ray Grovenstein said. "The institute's Environmental Health and Safety team is working closely with the Atlanta Fire Department to determine the exact nature of the materials involved in this incident and how the injuries occurred."
Mechanical engineering student Michael Parker of Hiram was at an adjacent fraternity house when the incident happened.
Parker told WSB Radio that Keen and Grzybowski had mixed aluminum powder and rust powder in an experiment that he called "high school basic chemistry." The experiment can produce a pyrotechnic effect, much like a huge sparkler.
"It's real simple to get; you don't have to really go very far to get the materials," Parker said. "You just put them together and ignite them with a butane torch and it's called a thermite reaction."
Parker said the resulting reaction "runs thousands of degrees Celsius - it's molten iron."
Parker told WSB that he didn't hear an actual explosion.
"In a thermite reaction, there should never be a real explosion, unless they hit an oxygen pocket or something like that that was exceedingly flammable," he said. "Once the reaction has actually started, it's literally just molten iron, but it can get out of control if you don't have it set up right."

us_nc: UPDATE: Forklift believed to be cause of toxic fumes in Bladen 
BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Six workers have been taken to the hospital, and several others are being treated on site at Carolina Blueberry north of White Lake in Bladen County.
Law enforcement officials on scene tell that the accidental mixing of chemicals may have caused asthmatic respiratory reaction.  Victims are being transported to the Bladen County Hospital.   HAZMAT officials are setting up a decontamination station on site, to treat other personnel affected by the accident.
It is believed that the mixing of chemical chlorine and a cleaning solution around 8:00 p.m. is what caused the breakout of breathing difficulties.
The Carolina Blueberry Association has had a processing facility in this location since 1988.
UPDATE: 2:30 AM - Hazmat workers were able to get into the building. At the time of entry, which was just after midnight, the oxygen level in the building was zero. Crews used hand held monitors to test two forklifts that were inside. One was found to be faulty due to incomplete combustion. The combustion caused propane gas and carbon monoxide leakage.

us_in: Man killed in Merrillville house explosion 
June 1, 2010 (MERRILLVILLE, Ind.) (WLS) -- One man was killed in an explosion at a home in northwest Indiana.
It happened early Monday morning in Merrillville.
A 37-year-old male resident died in the explosion. The house was leveled.
Emergency crews pulled several propane tanks and gas cans from the wreckage.
Officials have evacuated residents in a two-block radius until 5 o'clock Tuesday night over fears of a hazmat situation.
"Gasoline was detected in the sewer system and in the homes. And so we had to evacuate the residents in the area and conduct a search of all the homes and check the levels, which we found explosive levels in the house, in multiple houses," said Michael Sneiderwine, Ross Township Fire Service.
No other injuries have been reported and investigators are trying to determine what sparked the explosion.

us_ma: Hazmat team in Weston for chemical fumes 
WESTON =97 A regional hazardous materials response team was called to Weston yesterday after a Conant Road resident fell ill when he breathed in fumes from chemicals in his garage, fire officials said.
Fire Chief David Soar said a call came in at 5:44 p.m. reporting a homeowner on Conant Road who was feeling lightheaded after moving containers around in his garage. 
Soar said the man had been storing household chemicals like cleaning agents and pesticides in his garage for a long time. He did not know what the exact chemicals were. 
"It was things people would have in their garage," he said. "Over time, it got wet and it mixed together." 
The man was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure, Soar said. "there was no danger to anyone elese in the neighborhood." 
Because the man had a physical reaction to the chemicals, Weston fire officials called in the state Hazmat District 2 response team to investigate the substance, Soar said. 
"We didn't really feel comfortable at the scene so we called in Hazmat," said Soar. 
Fire crews and the Hazmat team were at the scene for about 6 hours altogether while the chemicals were metered and evaluated, said Soar. 

india: Workshops, manual=85Delhi University looks anew at lab safety 
New Delhi, June 2 (IANS) The radiation leak fiasco here that claimed one life was a =93wake-up call=94 for Delhi University. Its chemistry department, which came under heavy fire for the incident, is now working on a three-pronged strategy to make lab safety a primary concern. 
=93Lab safety has taken a whole new meaning after the Cobalt-60 incident=85it has come like a wake-up call for us because precautions and lab safety are not always taken very seriously,=94 A.K. Bakshi, who was appointed head of the department of chemistry after the radiation leak, told IANS. 
=93We have realised that we should not wait for another accident to happen and therefore have come up with a three-pronged strategy to ensure that lab safety is not compromised by anyone and at any cost,=94 Bakshi said. 
The source of the leak at a scrap market in west Delhi=92s Mayapuri area - in which one person was killed and six were affected - was a radioactive gamma cell containing Cobalt-60 that was auctioned as scrap by Delhi University=92s chemistry department over two months ago. 
The incident posed serious questions on the usage, storage and disposal of radioactive material which are often used for experiments in chemistry labs. 
Bakshi said: =93As part of the strategy, we will first have a series of workshops - initially for the teachers of the university on lab safety. Experts will be called from various institutions at these workshops. Teachers already know what precautions need to be taken, but these will simply brush up their skills and help them train the students better.=94 
The workshops will also touch upon the subject of disposal of chemical and radioactive waste, as well as their storage and usage. 
=93Besides students, the special and formal training will also help teachers impart knowledge to the laboratory staff better, as they are the ones who spend the most amount of time in the labs,=94 he added. 
The workshops, Bakshi said, will be conducted before the academic session begins in July. 
A lab safety manual which charts out the dos and don=92ts while conducting an experiment is also being prepared. This will be for both the undergraduate and the post graduate levels. 
=93I am even thinking of suggesting that in the chemistry practical exams, some marks should be reserved for a student=92s discipline in following the safety manual through the year. This will make students more aware and careful,=94 Bakshi told IANS. 
Uploading e-learning material on lab safety, how to handle various chemicals and apparatus and other such things on the university=92s newly launched e-learning portal is the third strategy. 
=93Considering that lab staff is the backbone of maintaining a laboratory, I am also thinking of instituting an award for the best maintained lab. This will motivate the staff to keep the lab clean, mark the chemical bottles and ensure the overall safety,=94 he added. 
=93We have more than 100 chemistry labs in different colleges in the university and 3,000-4,000 students. Through all these initiatives we just want to make the students feel they are cared for and that the labs are a safe place to work and learn in,=94 Bakshi said.

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