From: "Secretary, ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety" <secretary**At_Symbol_Here**DCHAS.ORG>
Subject: [DCHAS-L] China uni student killed in chemistry lab blast
Date: Sun, 20 Dec 2015 09:06:12 -0500
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China uni student killed in chemistry lab blast

A postdoctoral student was killed by a chemical explosion in a laboratory at Tsinghua University in Beijing on Friday morning.

The blast occurred on the second floor of Ho Tim Building, where graduate and postdoctoral students from Department of Chemistry conduct research.

"I heard a loud sound while I was in the dormitory, and I later saw black smoke coming from the building," a student surnamed Chen told Beijing News.

A teacher at the scene told The Mirror on condition of anonymity that the blast victim was Meng Xiangjian, 32, who was working with Tert-butyl lithium, a highly flammable compound that spontaneously burns upon exposure to air.

All the other students and faculty members in the lab building were safely evacuated after the explosion.

A strong odour lingered in the air hours after the fire was put out in the afternoon.

Min Guisen, a sophomore chemistry major at the university, said: "We have strict guidelines and standard operating procedures for every experiment we conducted in class. We conduct our experiments under the guidance of either a professor or a professor's research assistant."

Min said that hazardous chemicals are carefully stored in the building and cannot be used without permit.

Fan Qing, a researcher at the Institute of Chemistry at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said, "Certain hazards will be found in individual experiments, but, in general, fire and explosions are preventable if all necessary steps have been taken."

An investigation is underway.

In 2009, an unnamed research associate died from burns received in a similar accident at a UCLA laboratory in Los Angeles, California.

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