Saturday 9 January 2016

Chemical spill at Scottish school puts two staff members in hospital.

Two members of staff have been hospitalized after a chemical spill at a school in Perth, Scotland, on Thursday 7 January 2015. The incident happened after school hours at the St John's Roman Catholic Academy in North Inch, when about a liter of the chemical methanal was spilled in a classroom. No pupils were present at the time, but two members of the school's cleaning staff were overcome by fumes after attempting to deal with the problem themselves. The spill was eventually tackled by crew from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service wearing specialist breathing equipment and the school was able to reopen on Friday 8 January.

Fire and Rescue personnel in specialist clothing tackle a chemical spill at a school in Scotland on 7 January 2015. Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

Methanal is the simplest member of the aldehyde group of chemicals, with a chemical formula of CH2O. It is highly toxic to all animal life, and can cause death at relatively low levels if injected. Solutions of Methanal are also highly corrosive. Methanal fumes can aggravate the mucus membranes in the eyes at very low levels of concentration, causing extremely watery eyes. At higher levels fumes cause headaches, burning sensations in the throat and lungs and can trigger asthma and allergy symptoms; they are also considered to be carcinogenic (likely to cause cancer) and may cause reproductive problems in women, including abnormal menstrual cycles and spontaneous abortions.

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