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March 13, 2006

Student sustains minor cuts after explosion of glass tube

A visiting graduate student sustained minor injuries Tuesday afternoon when a small glass ampoule he was heating exploded in Thimann Labs. The student, from Thailand, was treated for two minor cuts on his face and neck by a doctor at the occupational treatment facility operated by Dominican Hospital on Frederick Street in Santa Cruz.

Shortly after 3 p.m., personnel from UCSC's Office of Environmental Health & Safety responded to the third-floor lab of chemistry faculty member Rebecca Braslau, where the incident occurred. There was no fire in the lab, but UCSC firefighters later evacuated students, staff, and faculty in the building for 30 minutes as a precaution.

After air samples taken in and around the laboratory tested negative for toxic chemicals, emergency personnel permitted people to reenter the building.

Braslau said students in her lab are involved in the process of synthesizing polymers. She said the ampoule contained nitroethylene, but it was too soon to know what led to the explosion. The student was wearing protective eyewear and clothing, preventing more serious injury, Braslau added.

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