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School Lab Fires Show Lack of Training, Agency Finds

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Science teachers need more safety training before running dazzling chemical experiments that can result in dangerous flash fires, according to recommendations issued last week by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board.

The board reviewed three fires stemming from science demonstrations during the past two months. The incidents in Nevada, Colorado, and Illinois inflicted burns on students and adults when methanol caught fire while an educator was attempting a demonstration.

Federal investigators say the fires had common problems: The demonstrators lacked proper safety training, and they used flammable chemicals in greater quantities than necessary. No safety barriers such as a clear shield were used between the experiment and the audience.

Vol. 34, Issue 11, Page 4

Published in Print: November 5, 2014, as School Lab Fires Show Lack of Training, Agency Finds
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