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  • Officials: Teen made very sensitive homemade explosives
    ROLFE, Iowa (KCCI) -- Officials said the state fire marshal and an FBI bomb tech from Omaha were called to the town of Rolfe after a student said he had homemade explosive materials at his house. Ron Humphrey, of the state fire marshal's office, estimated officials obtained around a quarter of a pound of chemical-based explosive material known as TATP. "He had the product, it was a good product," Humphrey said. "He could have, if he wanted to, cause some damage or injuries or hurt somebody pretty seriously, or himself or anybody else in the house." Humphrey said the material was kept in plastic pill bottles around the house at 605 Garfield Street and was very sensitive. He said an explosion could have occurred if a bottle was dropped or lid screwed on incorrectly. Humphrey said crews gathered all the bottles and materials used in chemical-making processes, packed it in sand and transported it to a county property. They said crews would perform a controlled explosion to destroy the material.
  • Biosafety Expert: Nigeria Proves Ebola Can Be Stopped
    A western African nation — Nigeria — that survived its brush with Ebola this summer offers lessons in how to derail a potential pandemic, says an American biosafety expert who worked on Nigeria's rapid early response as the disease hit nearby countries. Debra Sharpe, president of Sharpe Solutions International in Georgia, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Friday that her experience training Nigerian health care workers against Ebola proved that governments can succeed — but need time and expert help to get it right.
  • 3 Students Injured in Chemical Explosion at University of Rochester
    ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Hutchinson Hall was closed for hours while Rochester Fire Department’s haz mat crew cleaned up a chemical explosion inside a student laboratory in the basement of the building. “This was pretty surprising, I'll say,” said Joe Bailey. He’s a senior at the university and spends some of his time in that basement lab. Bailey said he was alerted about the explosion through a friend. "One of my friends heard about and he texted me to try and make sure I was alright," said the senior. Bailey was okay, but three graduate students were not. Jared Kneebone, Kathlyn Fillman, and Malik Al-Afyouni were transported to Strong Memorial Hospital where they were treated for chemical burns and cuts after a container they were using exploded. Captain Mark Alberts with the Rochester Fire Department said the three students were mixing three chemicals including hydro choleric and nitric acid. When the explosion occurred, students said a fire alarm sounded in the building and they were evacuated. "I thought it was a false alarm like always,” said Michael Dyonisious. The U of R graduate student said the labs are typically safe. “Everyone has to take the chemical safety training facility really enforce they chemical safety training on anyone that work on the lab,” said Dyonisious. The Rochester Fire Department worked to make sure the building wasn't contaminated and made sure no other chemicals were involved. After about two hours it was determined the area was stable and safe for students to re-enter. U of R Spokesperson Sara Miller explained that the university did not send a mass alert to student because the situation was contained to just Hutchinson Hall.
  • After biosafety lapses, US halts funding for work modifying virus targets
    Today, the White House announced a pause in a specific type of research on viruses. Rather than being a response to the recent Ebola infections, this dates back to events that began in 2011. Back then, researchers who were studying the bird flu put it through a series of lab procedures that ended with a flu virus that could readily infect mammals. Some members of the scientific community considered this work irresponsible, as the resulting virus could, again, potentially infect humans. Similar research and a debate over its value and threat have continued. Now, however, the Obama administration decided to put it on hold. Prompted by several recent biosafety lapses (including the discovery of old smallpox samples at the National Institutes of Health), the government will temporarily stop funding for these projects. During the pause, the government will organize a "deliberative process" that will consider the value of the research and the appropriate safety precautions that will need to be followed if it's done. The review will be run by a combination of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity and the National Academies of Science. The funding pause will apply to any projects that can allow viruses like the flu, MERS, and SARS to either add mammals to the list of species they can infect, or to increase their virulence following infection. The government also hopes that any lab pursuing this research using private funding will voluntarily join in the pause. Researchers who are simply studying naturally occurring viruses without modifying them will not be affected by this pause. The government's announcement can be read here.
  • UTMB Galveston agrees to dispose of Ebola medical waste
    GALVESTON – Amid growing concerns about the transmission of Ebola, UTMB-Galveston announced it's agreed to accept medical waste from Ebola patients. Patients' belongings have been collected, disinfected and then burned at a facility in Port Arthur. But now state health officials have asked UTMB to dispose of medical waste from Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. The medical center in Galveston is home to some of the top Ebola researchers in the world and a level 4 biosafety lab called the Galveston National Laboratory where they've been researching Ebola and other infectious diseases. Now it says it's ready to dispose of the waste. UTMB's president David Callender says they are willing to accept the patents and waste quite simply because they can handle the threat.
  • Employees fall ill from chemical spill at Summit Racing
    The Tallmadge Fire Department reports this morning at 5:52 it responded to Summit Racing Equipment, 1200 Southeast Ave., for a report of two employees feeling sick.  According to fire officials, employees had noticed a small chemical spill and proceeded to clean it up. The employees then became Ill and requested EMS.  After the arrival of EMS, Battalion Chief Mike Passarelli was informed of four additional sick employees. By protocol, the building was evacuated and County Hazardous Materials commander was contacted. The Hazardous Materials commander was on scene at 6:05 a.m. Mutual aid was received by the Summit County Hazardous Material Team and the Mogadore Fire Department. By 6:27 a.m. the chemicals had been completely identified and isolated. One employee was transported to the hospital for evaluation. The other five employees were treated and released on scene.
  • Ebola hazmat suits difficult to remove
    WASHINGTON (WJLA) - Sometimes all that separates the nurses and doctors on the frontlines of the Ebola outbreak from contracting the disease is a few pieces of thin protective gear. Story includes video demonstrating challenge of doffing high level PPE
  • What city learned from Friday's Ebola scare
    Hours after an Ebola scare began at a Zelda Road eye center, Baptist South Hospital announced "the patient did not have any symptoms whatsoever associated with the diagnosis of Ebola." For the public the Ebola scare and the myriad procedures used to deal with it had ended, but for central Alabama officials it is just a beginning. Rather than view it only as a false alarm, Mayor Todd Strange saw it as "a really good exercise" to see how the city handled an Ebola threat, and officials will gather in Montgomery early next week to review what happened and suggest improvements. "What we will do is get everyone involved to see what we collectively think worked and where we might have done things better," Strange said Friday night. He said the meeting would likely include Montgomery public safety personnel, such as fire and police officials, representatives from Baptist South hospital, where the patient was taken, and either Alabama Department of Public Health director Don Williamson or someone else from the department.
  • How To Report On Ebola: Journalists Find Hazmat Suits A Hindrance In Hot Zone
    During the 13 days she spent covering the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, Guardian newspaper journalist Monica Mark took every precaution. She checked her temperature every morning, every night and at any moment she felt the slightest twinge or ache. She hired a driver to avoid a taxi that could have been contaminated with someone exposed to the virus. In-person interviews were conducted at a distance. Washing her hands and boots with chlorine became second nature. So did wearing long johns and long-sleeved shirts in West Africa’s blazing heat. Wiping sweat off her brow was out of the question. “But it’s impossible not to touch people sometimes,” she said, remembering the day she was at Princess Christian Maternity Hospital in Freetown when a complete stranger wrapped her arms around her. Mark was standing in a hallway of one of the wards when an older woman approached her. “I heard a woman yell, ‘Jessica!’” Mark, who is black, said describing the incident. The woman had clearly mistaken Mark for someone else, but before she could explain the mix-up, the woman gave her a massive hug. “She kept saying, ‘I’m so excited you came. You must see my daughter,’” Mark said. At that point Mark knew if she had contracted the virus it was too late to do anything about it. She followed the woman to a room where she met the woman’s daughter who had just given birth.
  • Gupta Tests Ebola Hazmat Suits
    WASHINGTON, DC (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- One of the nations most famous doctors is showing others just how easy it is for those health care workers to catch the virus off protective gear.     Dr. Sanjay Gupta used chocolate syrup to demonstrate how difficult it is to get out of the protective where without having any bodily fluid touching you.     Dr. Gupta was following CDC protocol on how to exactly remove the protective gear after use.
  • Jennie-O Turkey Plant in Willmar, Minn. Evacuated, Police Investigating Possible Chemical Leak
    The Jennie-O Turkey Plant in Willmar, Minnesota, was evacuated Friday night around 7:30 after people there started getting sick. Willmar Police say initially a few people were sick, vomiting and coughing. At last check, police say up to 30 people have been transported to the hospital with similar symptoms. Police are investigating a possible chemical leak but haven't released the exact cause. Jennie-O officials say they are working with local authorities to find out what is causing the illnesses. They say the fire department has not found anything unusual. "The health and well-being of our employees is our top concern during this time," the company's statement said.
  • North Haven High School students sent home as precaution after chemical spill
    NORTH HAVEN >> The town’s high school was evacuated and students were dismissed early as a precautionary measure Friday after a small chemical spill, officials said. Fire, police and ambulances responded to the 221 Elm St. school at about 11:20 a.m. No injuries were reported. The students were dismissed at 1 p.m. The chemicals spilled in a third-floor science laboratory, Deputy Fire Chief Dave Marcarelli said. A science teacher told firefighters about a half gallon of nitric acid spilled out of a gallon drum, according to Marcarelli. “We were able to go in with our meters and test the environment,” Marcarelli said. The department’s hazardous materials team neutralized the spill by putting a base on it, bringing it down to a safe level, he said.
  • Sheriff: Teen planned to blow up building in November
    ROLFE, Iowa —A teen and his mother have been arrested and charged after officials found homemade explosive materials in their house in the town of Rolfe. Pocahontas County Sheriff Bob Lampe told KCCI's Vanessa Peng that the boy had accumulated enough material to level a two-story building. Lampe said the boy reportedly planned to blow up a building in November. He would not elaborate on how authorities know that information. "There were no threats made to anyone in school or any specific person. This was something he was experimenting with and I think for a long time, and he finally perfected it," said Lampe. Lampe said the boy apparently researched how to make the explosive materials and had reached the point where he had perfected the formula.
  • Green Chemistry: Green Chemistry Reagent Guides
    While solvents may get all the limelight as being the largest input to pharmaceutical manufacturing processes, reagents, substances or compounds added to a system to create a chemical reaction, are also important components to focus on when taking the greener route.   Similar to the Solvent Guide, created by the ACS GCI Pharmaceutical Roundtable, which helps chemists choose safer solvents; the roundtable has created Reagent Guides. These guides were created to achieve three purposes, to provide a balanced assessment of chemical methods, to allow easy access to chemical literature or procedures for reagents that end up with a high score in the assessment, and to gain attention for new emerging green chemistry methods. When the first round of guides are complete there will be nine sections to choose from: oxidation to aldehyde and ketones, nitro reduction, n-alkylation, o-dealkylation, ester deprotection, epoxidation, amide formation, Boc deprotection, amide reduction.
  • Hazmat truck leak closes part of Walden Avenue in Alden
    A section of Walden Avenue in the Town of Alden is closed because of material leaking from a tanker truck that has split, emergency crews are reporting from the scene. The closure is between Town Line and Wende roads. Hazardous materials teams from numerous fire companies are responding to the scene. The material has been described as “pitch,” which is a hot substance used in roofing projects.
  • Hazmat crew responds to Upper East Side condo after possible Ebola case reported 
    First responders in full hazmat gear showed up at a ritzy Upper East Side condo Thursday on a report of a possible Ebola case, law enforcement said. Paramedics, dressed head to toe in protective attire, were seen taking a woman from a pricey Park Ave. condo near E. 61st St. where living spaces sell for up to $5 million dollars, at about 2:30 p.m. An FDNY spokesman said two people were transported from the address suffering from respiratory and cardiac distress. Neither was listed as fever/travel patients, the FDNY's code for people suffering from Ebola-like symptoms. One of the patients was taken to New York Hospital, the spokesman said. The second was taken to Bellevue Hospital, which has a special quarantine room in its emergency room along with an isolation chamber that can hold up to four patients, he said.
  • 'Clipboard Man' Without a Hazmat Suit at Ebola Flight Explained
    The man seen not wearing a hazmat suit while standing just feet away from the second nurse with Ebola as she was transported to Emory University hospital did not need to wear the protective gear, the medical airline said. The nurse, identified Wednesday as Amber Vinson, was flown from Dallas to Atlanta on medical airline Phoenix Air. She was seen being transported to and from the ambulance by three people in full-body hazmat suits, but the fourth person by her stretcher was wearing plainclothes and holding a clipboard. The airline confirmed to ABC News that the man was their medical protocol supervisor who was purposefully not wearing protective gear. "Our medical professionals in the biohazard suits have limited vision and mobility and it is the protocol supervisor’s job to watch each person carefully and give them verbal directions to ensure no close contact protocols are violated," a spokesperson from Phoenix Air told ABC News. "There is absolutely no problem with this and in fact ensures an even higher level of safety for all involved," the spokesperson said.
  • Fire engulfs factories in Revesby
    A massive fire that engulfed a factory containing thousands of litres of flammable liquid could burn for days in Sydney's south-west. NSW Fire & Rescue Superintendent Ian Krimmer said the fire in an industrial zone in Revesby was now under control but not yet extinguished.  "The factory is all collapsing onto itself so it could burn for a couple of days," Superintendent Krimmer said.  Thick black smoke fills the sky as a blaze burns in south-west Sydney. Photo: Nick Moir One hundred firefighters worked to contain the blaze, which started in an a car parts factory on Marigold Street about 11am. When firefighters arrived at the scene they were faced with huge columns of black smoke, explosions and a fast-moving fire. NSW Fire & Rescue Commissioner Greg Mullins said chemical solvents in the car manufacturing plant had caused explosions that sent huge balls of fire shooting into the sky.
  • Incident at Yeager Airport result of personal hygiene products
    A chemical leak at Yeager Airport late Wednesday that sent two airport workers to the hospital and closed the airport for about three hours was an accident, airport officials believe. Yeager Airport Director Rick Atkinson said the substance released when a Delta Air Lines staff member opened a piece of luggage was the result of two personal hygiene products mixing together. “Somehow the stuff just got tossed around and maybe broke or something,” he said. “A little bit of it is fine. A lot of it in a concentrated space is going to irritate your nose and eyes.” Terry Sayre, the airport’s assistant director, said the bag had been reported missing from a flight the day before and had arrived at the airport as a lost bag. Sayre said the bag had been sitting at Delta for about 12 hours when a staffer decided to open it to confirm the owner. When the bag was opened, the substance was released, he said. About 45 minutes later, two Delta employees started having breathing problems. Two airport staffers were decontaminated at the airport and two were sent to CAMC General Hospital for decontamination “out of an abundance of caution,” airport spokesman Mike Plante said Wednesday.
  • Penn State student hurt in laboratory explosion
    STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - Penn State's department of environmental health and safety has been investigating a small explosion at a campus laboratory that burned a student. School officials aren't identifying the student who was doing a tissue culture in the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Building when the explosion occurred in an exhaust hood about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. Svend Peterson, the assistant safety officer of the Alpha Fire Company in State College, says investigators are trying to determine if alcohol being used for sterilization could have caused the blast. University officials say there didn't appear to be damage to the building, though they were still attempting to determine whether any lab equipment was damaged. The student was taken to Mount Nittany Medical Center, where information about the student's condition was not immediately available Thursday.
  • Traffic restricted after Hazmat team called to RUH
    Traffic to Royal University Hospital was restricted Thursday after a Hazmat team was called to a reported chemical spill. Saskatoon fire crews, including a hazardous materials team, were called to a laboratory on the third floor of the hospital at 2:45 p.m. “We got the call of an odd smell on the third floor of RUH in the lab. We sent out a Hazmat team to investigate. We did testing for numerous chemicals and have found nothing at this time,” said assistant fire chief Morgan Hackl. Only the lab was evacuated, according to Hackl. Saskatoon police controlled traffic to RUH for about an hour. The restriction led to some congestion on College Drive, Hackl said.
  • Italy fire opens seedy side of Chinese migrant labour
    There was no fire alarm fitted at the garment factory outside Florence where Chen Changzhong worked and lived. Heat finally startled him awake on the morning of December 1 last year. Before him was a wall of burning fabric. He raced through the building and became the only worker to survive. Seven people died at the Teresa Moda factory in Prato, a largely Chinese manufacturing district in Tuscany. It was the deadliest in memory, exposing the true costs of cheap clothes and the pursuit of profit over safety in the thriving, illicit economy that has grown out of Chinese immigration to Italy.
  • UCLA's legal fees in fatal lab fire case neared $4.5 million
    After UCLA chemistry professor Patrick Harran walked out of court in June, his lawyers issued a news release hailing the "first-of-its-kind" deal that all but freed him from criminal liability in a 2008 lab fire that killed a staff researcher. The "deferred prosecution agreement" that allowed Harran to avoid pleading guilty or no-contest to any charge might have been a novel resolution, as his attorneys said. But it certainly didn't come cheap. Top-tier law firms hired to defend him and the University of California against felony charges in the death of Sheharbano "Sheri" Sangji charged more than 7,700 billable hours and nearly $4.5 million in fees, according to documents obtained by The Times through a California Public Records Act request. We defended ourselves and our faculty member as was our right and obligation, using funds in a systemwide self-insurance program. Nearly five dozen defense attorneys, paralegals and others billed for work on the case, the records show. One attorney charged $792,000 in fees and at least four other lawyers billed more than $500,000 each — all for pretrial work. The University of California paid the fees out of its publicly funded pocket. UCLA said in a statement Wednesday that the expense was justified. "We defended ourselves and our faculty member as was our right and obligation, using funds in a systemwide self-insurance program," it said.
  • Removing gloves and other protective equipment
    One of the things highlighted in the news this week is the risks of contamination from removing—”doffing”—personal protective equipment. “Meticulous removal, or doffing, of PPE is as important as its meticulous donning,” wrote infectious disease physician Amesh A. Adalja in “Ebola Lessons We Need To Learn From Dallas.” Most chemists don’t need to fear Ebola, but they do wear PPE to protect from chemical exposure. I asked Iowa State University lab safety specialist Ryan Wyllie and biosafety specialist Amy Helgerson what chemistry researchers should keep in mind when removing their PPE.
  • Meth making blamed for Muncie motel fire
    MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — Authorities are blaming methamphetamine makers for starting a fire at a Muncie motel. Muncie Fire Department investigator Robert Mead says crews found items associated with manufacturing meth after the fire Saturday night at the Budget Motel on the city's south side. Mead tells The Star Press ( ) that the chemical reaction from the meth ingredients started the fire, which gutted the room and damaged part of the motel's exterior and roof. Mead says no injuries were reported and that the meth makers had fled before emergency crews arrived.