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Archive for Tuesday, January 7, 1992

CHEMICAL SPILLS IN KU LABORATORY

January 7, 1992

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Lawrence firefighters were called to Kansas University Monday night to clean up a small chemical spill in Malott Hall.

KU police and the fire department's hazardous materials team were called about 9:05 p.m. after a custodian discovered the spill on a laboratory floor.

The chemical was identified by Ron Borchardt, pharmaceutical chemistry professor, as sodium hydroxide isopropyl alcohol. Borchardt this morning said that about a quart of the chemical had spilled from a large barrel in the pharmaceutical chemistry lab. No one was injured.

Firefighters reported that when they arrived, the chemical was emitting fumes and had caused the tile it was spilled on to turn black.

Borchardt said that the discolored tile could be cleaned and that the chemical posed no threat if it was inhaled. However, he said, it is highly corrosive and can burn the skin.

It was unclear what the chemical was used for, but firefighters reported that sodium hydroxide alone is often used as a cleaning agent.

Firefighters soaked up the chemical with absorbent pads and sealed it in a container that will be disposed of later.

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