An older sample tube being used in a furnace containing tungsten selenide (SDS warning: Acutely Toxic by Inhalation – GHS Category 3) failed releasing a small reddish-colored cloud into the air. The student immediately turned off the oven and departed the lab. EHS was notified and immediately reported to the scene. Upon arrival, EHS encountered two students in the lab. The students were asked to leave and EHS initiated the investigation.
Given the toxicity of tungsten selenide, it was determined that the best course of action was dilution by ventilation to remove the remaining airborne tungsten selenide. This was accomplished by closing the lab for approximately two hours to allow the room air exchange process to exhaust the airborne tungsten selenide. There should be 4 – 6 air exchanges per hour in the lab with standard lab ventilation. EHS ensured that the room was negative pressure to the hallway (air flows into the lab). A ‘Caution – Do not enter this room’ was posted on the lab door.
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