2 Sent for Observation in Chemical Spill at ISU


POCATELLO, Idaho – A Hazmat crew responded to a chemical spill alarm in the Engineering Building on the Idaho State University campus, which has subsequently been cleared, and is now open to students again.

According to an ISU spokesman, a student and lab assistant were working with the chemical boron trifluoride, typically used in organic chemistry, when a release occurred.  The chemical was immediately contained.

Symptoms of exposure include irritation of the eyes, skin, nose, respiratory system; nosebleed; eye, skin burns. The National Institutes of Health open chemical database says boron trifluoride is colorless gas with a harsh odor that is toxic if inhaled.

The student and lab assistant were taken to Portneuf Medical Center for observation.

Emergency personnel, including the Office of Technical Safety, Pocatello Fire Department, the Pocatello Police Department and a regional hazardous materials team responded to the incident.

The Region 6 Hazardous Materials response team was on the scene and was briefed by the ISU reactor and chemistry staff.