Six Sent To Hospital After Nitric Acid Spill In K-State Lab

By: Lindsey Rogers Email
By: Lindsey Rogers Email

MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) -- Manhattan fire officials say six people were taken to the hospital Friday afternoon after an acid spill in a lab on Kansas State University's campus.

A hazmat unit with the Manhattan Fire Department responded to Mosier Hall around 2:15 PM.

According to Steve Galitzer, the university's Director of Environmental Health and Safety, a College of Veterinary Medicine faculty member carrying a 9-pound bottle of nitric acid in a second-floor laboratory hit the doorway of the lab, causing about two and half liters of the chemical to spill.

Manhattan Fire Department's Deputy of Chief of Operation Scott French says the solution in the bottle was 70% nitric acid, meaning it was at full strength and some of it splashed onto the faculty member's feet, going through her shoes and leaving her with minor burns. French says she immediately took a shower while others in the lab put absorbent down on the acid until firefighters and emergency crews arrived.

The faculty member was treated by EMS at the scene and was taken to Mercy Regional Health Center as a precautionary measure, French told 13 News at the scene.

He says five other people who were in the vicinity of the spill were also taken the hospital to be checked out because they inhaled a small amount of nitric acid fumes. A press release from Kansas State University on the chemical spill indicated that a majority of the people taken to the hospital were staff members.

Members of the Manhattan Fire Department's hazmat team wore chemical suits and breathing apparatuses as they cleaned up the acid. Scott French said they placed a neutralizing absorbent on it and scooped it into buckets so that the university could properly dispose of it.


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