A minor explosion occurred at Boston College after a chemistry student experimented with thionyl chloride, a chemical used to make mustard gas. Hee Yeon Cho left the lab on Saturday morning with minor cuts and burns.
Cho was working alone in the lab when a beaker exploded in her hand.
“This was a minor chemical reaction that caused the beaker she was using to break,” Boston College spokesman Jack Dunn said.
After receiving treatment from St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, Cho drove herself home. In addition to cleaning up the lab, the hazmat team also had to decontaminate her apartment and car.
“It was more challenging because the student left,” Dunn said.
Boston College had to bring in a special clean-up team to take care of the explosion. They used large amounts of water to dilute the chemical.
Officials say they have not found out what caused the reaction. Chris Schuster, a fellow student of Cho’s had this to say about the accident:
“Honestly, I think she was probably never expecting this to happen. This seems like a somewhat standard procedure.”
Though lab researchers are encouraged to work with others when conducting experiments, they are not forbidden to work alone. As for Cho, Dunn said she is a “skilled researcher,” and did not violate any safety procedures.
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