BOSTON – A Boston College doctoral student suffered minor injuries at a lab Saturday when a chemical used in making mustard gas and methamphetamine exploded in her hand, a school spokesman said.
The student, who was not identified, suffered cuts on her face after the small blast at the Merkert Chemistry Center in Boston, said school spokesman Jack Dunn. She then drove herself home.
Other students who later spotted evidence of an explosion called Boston police, Dunn said. Fire officials and hazmat crew evacuated the building.
The student told emergency workers that she was using a chemical called thionyl chloride alone in the lab. Thionyl chloride can be used to make mustard gas and nerve toxins, but it is also used in the manufacturing of batteries and herbicides, among other things. The fire department didn't know what kind of experiment she was conducting.
Boston Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald said the student was decontaminated and transported to St. Elizabeth Hospital. She also suffered minor burns on one of her hands, he said.
MacDonald said the situation was complicated when the student left the building and went home. "We then had to decontaminate her car and her apartment," he said.
The Boston College building reopened Saturday afternoon.