Chemistry lab accident injures four LS students

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FOUR Loyola Schools (LS) students were injured after an accident involving a distillation experiment occurred at 10:48 AM earlier today during a CH 22.2: Survey of Organic Chemistry laboratory class at SEC-C 207.

Among the victims of the accident, three sustained minor injuries while one was severely injured and was transferred from the LS Health Services Clinic to a hospital.

In an interview with The GUIDON, Ace*, a student who witnessed the incident in her class, said that one of her classmates’ experimental set-up exploded as he was boiling a solution of unpurified isopropanol.

Ace said that the glass shards that flew out of the explosion severely injured the student and gave two others minor scratches and abrasions. Meanwhile, one shard of glass was embedded in a fourth student’s cheek.

“[The sample provided to the students] had a mixture of the solution we’re trying to find and the dye, and we’re supposed to obtain the purest form of it. So that’s why we needed to heat it a couple of times,” Ace explained.

According to Ace, “[the explosion] could be [due to] the possibility of a strong flame, the lack of boiling chips which could cause the unstable heating, or heating to dryness which could cause pressure too high for the apparatus to handle.”

Laboratory technician Jhun Domingo, who cleaned up the venue after the accident, said that the minor injuries included cuts around the students’ faces from shards of glass. The major injuries, sustained by one student, included larger cuts along the forearm and neck area.

The class was under assistant instructor Sidney Palardonio from the Chemistry Department. He rushed the students to the clinic right after the accident.

The main objective of the experiment was to “purify an unknown sample given to the students,” Ace explained. “It is part of the learning objective of the experiment to identify the unknown solution which is a common chemical in the laboratory based on its physical and chemical properties.”

“Before the experiment began, our professor ensured that we all knew that we had to be careful with the reagents. He made sure that we were in the right attire and that we knew how to handle the experiment well,” Ace added. “The main thing as well is that this experiment has been carried out multiple times and never once was there this kind of incident."

Palardonio deferred comment to The GUIDON for the meantime, mentioning the need for the administration’s investigation to take its due course before the Chemistry Department gives an official statement.

The GUIDON is reaching out to the LS Office of Health Services as of this writing. The students who suffered minor injuries were able to attend class after the incident.

*Editor’s Notes: Ace’s real name, year, and course have been withheld at her request to protect her identity. The other students involved in the incident have not confirmed permission to be identified as of writing.

This is a developing story. We will add more updates to this story as they come.

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