Students were left waiting for over an hour outside of the Chemistry Building early on Thursday afternoon when the building was evacuated after a student suffered from breathing difficulties in what was initially feared to be a gas leak.
The postgraduate student, who had been working in Laboratory B11, suffered from an adverse reaction after exposure to the chemical compound 1,2-Dimethoxybenzene. The chemical, also known as veratrole, is known to have adverse effects when brought into contact with skin or eyes, or if inhaled.
The student was treated by paramedics on the scene while the Fire Brigade worked with university representatives to check the safety of the building. Professor Martin Poliakoff stated that the patient had “seemed better” before being taken by ambulance to the QMC for a further check-up. The building reopened at 3:10pm and students were allowed back into their classes.
The atmosphere outside of the Chemistry Building was a mixture of confusion, curiosity and frustration, after initial rumours that the evacuation had been caused by a cyanide leak or a fire.