Statement from the ACS Committee on Chemical Safety regarding the “Tornado Experiment” Explosion in a Science Museum in Reno, Nevada
Another chemistry demonstration accident has happened. This one was at a museum in Nevada. In preliminary reports, it looks as if several children were injured. One child was held overnight in the hospital. See the article posted on Yahoo News. (Thanks to Tom Kuntzleman for the link.)
Chemistry classroom accidents have been in the news too often recently. I hazard to suggest that there are smaller incidents that never make the news because there are luckily no serious injuries. We need to be vigilant in our safety concerns to protect our students and ourselves from any accidents and exposure to hazardous substances. We also need to be aware of theft concerns. Unfortunately, students may be looking for ingredients to experiment with explosives or to manufacture illicit drugs.
I was at a chemistry teacher workshop recently and we participated in a common Hess’s Law laboratory. Part of the procedure required us to measure about 2 grams of solid NaOH and add it to 100 mL of 0.5 M HCl. We also added 50 mL of 1 M NaOH solution to 50 mL of 0.5 M HCl solution. We then compared the energy change of both containers.
Robert H. Hill, Jr., Ph.D., Chair, ACS Committee on Chemical Safety asked us to post the following alert about the Rainbow Demonstration. I hope chemistry teachers will share the alert with their networks.
As I follow the conversations about the most recent chemistry classroom accident in Manhattan (see my previous blog post), I see that many agree that we need to advocate for adequate required safety training of our present and pre-service teachers. A good starting point is to pursue training on our own. This past year I began watching the Flinn Safety videos. I know they are good ones. I haven’t seen other free training like this available, but I would love to hear of other opportunities to share here. Read this message from Dr. Irene Cesa, Senior Scientist and Technical Consultant for Flinn Scientific, Inc. If you are interested in seeing a video clip specific to the recent tragedy, she gives precise information so that you can easily find the correct video excerpt.
It has happened again. We just published a “Lab Accidents” blog with a link to the US Chemical Safety Board’s video entitled “After the Rainbow” published December 10, 2013. Less than a month later, a young boy has experienced the same nightmare scenario as the one described in the video.
The US Chemical Safety Board is an independent federal agency in Washington DC. They investigate industrial accidents. They just released a video of a young woman speaking about a high school chemistry class accident she was a victim of.