Date: Thu, 5 May 2011 19:07:43 -0400
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From: "Secretary, ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety"

Subject: Canadian Firm Fined For Chemist's Death

Firm Fined For Chemist's Death
Safety: Sepracor Canada admits lack of lab ventilation in worker 
fatality case
Jyllian N. Kemsley

Published: May 5, 2011

Article Location:

=46rom Chemical & Engineering News

Topics Covered
safety, accident, death, trimethylsilyldiazomethane, diazomethane

Safety: Sepracor Canada admits lack of lab ventilation in worker 
fatality case.

Drugmaker Sepracor Canada pleaded guilty in a Canadian court on May 2 to 
one charge of failing to provide proper workplace ventilation and will 
pay a US$47,000 fine for the death of chemist Roland Daigle.

Daigle died on Oct. 8, 2008, from lung failure after exposure to 
trimethylsilyldiazomethane (TMSD) in a quality control laboratory at the 
company's Windsor, Nova Scotia, facility.

The plea and fine were part of a deal in which the prosecutor dropped 
four other charges against the company, a subsidiary of Sunovion 
Pharmaceuticals. The other charges involved hazardous material training, 
use of personal protective equipment, and maintaining the security of 
the accident scene.

The day before he died, Daigle, 46, worked with TMSD, (CH3)3SiCHN2, when 
lab fume hoods were not operating because of roof work. TMSD can be used 
as a methylating reagent in place of diazomethane, which is explosive. 
When inhaled, diazomethane can also cause fatal lung damage akin to that 
experienced by Daigle. It is unclear whether TMSD has the same toxic 
properties as diazomethane, or whether Daigle's lung damage was caused 
by breakdown products or residual diazomethane (Clin. Toxicol., DOI: 

Daigle's family is disappointed that court proceedings did not explain 
why Daigle and coworkers worked in the lab without adequate ventilation, 
says a statement prepared by the family and obtained by C&EN from Lynda 
MacDonald, Daigle's sister. The statement adds that $47,000 "is but a 
slap on the hand of a giant pharmaceutical company."

"Sepracor Canada continues to mourn Roland Daigle's loss as well as to 
extend its sympathies to Roland's family and many friends," Sunovion 
spokeswoman Susan Adler says. Adler adds that the Nova Scotia Department 
of Labour & Advanced Education did not recommend any changes to work 
practices at the Windsor facility after department officials 
investigated Daigle's death.

At least one other chemist has also died in recent years from TMSD 
exposure. On Jan. 4, 2008, 24-year-old chemist Jason Siddell died after 
spilling TMSD at chemical company Gelest in Morrisville, Pa. The U.S. 
Occupational Safety & Health Administration cited Gelest for violating 
hazard communication standards, and the company paid a $1,500 fine.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright =A9 2011 American Chemical Society

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