Investigation after University of Southampton student is exposed to arsenic and thallium

Daily Echo: University of Southampton University of Southampton

POLICE have launched an investigation after a student fell ill after being exposed to arsenic.

The 25-year-old PHD chemistry student was found to have traces of thallium and arsenic in their body.

Exactly how the chemicals came to be in the student's body is unknown, so the University of Southampton has closed down some research labs while the investigation by police and HSE continues.

Others that work in related areas of the university will be given the chance to undergo voluntary screening.

It has already been established this does not relate to any leak or airborne emission from the buildings and is not transmittable and may not be connected with the University at all.

The affected student is currently being treated at a specialist toxicology unit at a hospital in Cardiff.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service specialist HAZMAT officers are assisting with the investigation and are conducting tests within a property in Burgess Road. This is being treated as an isolated incident and staff and students at the University and other members of the public are not believed to be at risk.

Detective Chief Inspector Pete McGowan, said: “We are keeping an open mind on how the student has been exposed to the chemicals and are investigating all scenarios at the moment.

“We and the HSE are leading this enquiry and we have no reason to think that there is any risk to public health.”

University Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Adam Wheeler, said: “Our thoughts are with our student and their family at this difficult time for them and our student support staff are providing further assistance.

“The safety of our staff and students is of paramount importance to the University and we have proactively taken measures to ensure their health and well-being. At part of this we are co-operating and taking advice form the relevant authorities.”

Comments (5)

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4:43pm Fri 14 Sep 12

housewife says...

I did wonder as I drove past this afternoon - but they all looked very relaxed.
Pity the poor security guard sitting INSIDE the quarantined Chemistry building though ...
I did wonder as I drove past this afternoon - but they all looked very relaxed. Pity the poor security guard sitting INSIDE the quarantined Chemistry building though ... housewife
  • Score: 0

5:44pm Fri 14 Sep 12

Huffter says...

housewife wrote:
I did wonder as I drove past this afternoon - but they all looked very relaxed. Pity the poor security guard sitting INSIDE the quarantined Chemistry building though ...
Safer to keep your eyes on the road while driving.
[quote][p][bold]housewife[/bold] wrote: I did wonder as I drove past this afternoon - but they all looked very relaxed. Pity the poor security guard sitting INSIDE the quarantined Chemistry building though ...[/p][/quote]Safer to keep your eyes on the road while driving. Huffter
  • Score: 0

7:08pm Fri 14 Sep 12

Gainer T Gopher says...

Maybe the student just didn't follow protocol for dealing with these chemicals.... no..... possibly not.... seems a huge police cost for all this...
Maybe the student just didn't follow protocol for dealing with these chemicals.... no..... possibly not.... seems a huge police cost for all this... Gainer T Gopher
  • Score: 0

9:35pm Fri 14 Sep 12

eurogordi says...

A PhD chemistry student at a leading research university comes into contact with dangerous chemicals. Shock! Horror! Or an acceptable risk for this type of research. Hardly a police matter in my opinion.
A PhD chemistry student at a leading research university comes into contact with dangerous chemicals. Shock! Horror! Or an acceptable risk for this type of research. Hardly a police matter in my opinion. eurogordi
  • Score: 0

12:28am Sat 15 Sep 12

Vonnie says...

eurogordi wrote:
A PhD chemistry student at a leading research university comes into contact with dangerous chemicals. Shock! Horror! Or an acceptable risk for this type of research. Hardly a police matter in my opinion.
It is if it turns out to have nothing to do with the University and what the student handled.
[quote][p][bold]eurogordi[/bold] wrote: A PhD chemistry student at a leading research university comes into contact with dangerous chemicals. Shock! Horror! Or an acceptable risk for this type of research. Hardly a police matter in my opinion.[/p][/quote]It is if it turns out to have nothing to do with the University and what the student handled. Vonnie
  • Score: 0

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