From: LMSTROUD**At_Symbol_Here**
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] CSB statement on High School Laboratory Fire in New York City
Date: Sun, 5 Jan 2014 08:39:23 -0500
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: 7dbdd.4d7e46ed.3ffaba8b**At_Symbol_Here**

I never did the demo this way. The flame test is much safer if wooden splints are soaked in the various metal salts solutions and allowed to dry before burning the splints. Metal nitrate salts were not used. Students could do this experiment safely.
The methanol flame demo was always done behind a heavy secure shield or in a hood lighting the methanol solution one evaporating dish at the time. The 4 L container was capped and moved away from the demo. Pouring methanol in a hot container with other flames close by is TROUBLE.
I am with Bob. Endorsing the methanol method could be problems. Someone will always misconstrue what is we are trying to convey. Let's suggest a safer alternative.
In a message dated 1/5/2014 6:09:39 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, breazealew**At_Symbol_Here**GMAIL.COM writes:

This is a very dangerous demo as we all know.  I would be very uncomfortable to prepare anything that could be taken as an endorsement of the demo.  An alternate method should be recommended that is safe.  Additionally, every attempt should be made to keep teachers from doing the demo!

On Jan 4, 2014 8:43 PM, "Robert Hill" <roberth_hill**At_Symbol_Here**> wrote:
When I read about this yesterday this was exactly my reaction.  It sounds like the same experiment that uses methanol and the demonstrators are just unaware about the conditions that cause fires or they just underestimate the risk of the fire and explosion and don't provide proper protections for their students.  I am wondering if CCS should issue some sort of warning about this particular demonstration in high schools - not so to stop the demonstration but rather to explain the risks associated with this and suggestions for steps to prevent these incidents.  What do you think?  Bob

-----Original Message-----
>From: "Secretary, ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety" <secretary**At_Symbol_Here**DCHAS.ORG>
>Sent: Jan 4, 2014 9:29 AM
>Subject: [DCHAS-L] CSB statement on High School Laboratory Fire in New York City
>Statement from CSB Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso on Yesterday's High School Laboratory Fire in New York City
>I was distressed to learn once again of a serious high school laboratory accident, this one occurring yesterday at a New York City High School. According to media reports, a flash fire occurred during a demonstration in the high school's laboratory resulting in injuries to two 10th grade students, one severely.
>This accident is all too similar to the one we highlighted in a recent video safety message released by the CSB that specifically focused on potential dangers in high school chemistry laboratories. The CSB&rsquo;s safety message entitled "After the Rainbow," features accident survivor Calais Weber in her own words describing how at age 15 she was burned over 40 per cent of her body during a chemistry demonstration performed by her teacher at a prestigious boarding school she attended in Ohio. That accident occurred on January 23, 2006.. Our chemical investigation screening process regrettably regularly reports similar accidents.
>Though information at this stage is very preliminary, media reports indicate the accident that occurred yesterday in Manhattan may have been similar to the type of demonstration that critically injured Ms. Weber in that it attempted to show how chemicals react in different ways giving off different colors. . The demonstration in the CSB video showed the use of highly flammable methanol to depict how various mineral salts produce different color flames when burned.
>The CSB believes that accidents in high school laboratories occur with alarming frequency. Yesterday&rsquo;s incident is yet another example of a preventable incident and a reminder of the need for exacting safety measures to protect students and school property. As Calais states in the safety message, her accident should never have occurred, and that with better attention to good safety practices, similar accidents can also be avoided. She says, "It feels with this type of injury that you&rsquo;ve had so much taken away from you unnecessarily and to keep reading about other people who have had very similar experiences, it&rsquo;s tragic and shouldn't happen."

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