CDC: 62% of School Hazardous Substance Emergencies Due to Human Error

ATLANTA – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a summary of hazardous chemical incidents in U.S. schools (2002-2007) in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

According to the report, during 2002-2007, a total of 43,766 events involving a chemical incident were reported to the Hazardous Substances Emergency Events Surveillance (HSEES) in the 15 states. Of these, 423 occurred in elementary and secondary schools.

School-related events most often resulted from human error (62 percent) (e.g., improper chemical storage and unsafe, improper use of materials or equipment); equipment failure (17 percent) (e.g., broken hoses, valves, or pipes); or intentional acts (17 percent) (e.g., using homemade chemical bombs [bottle bombs] or 2-chloroacetophenone [i.e., mace or pepper spray pranks]). Among the 423 chemical incidents in elementary and secondary schools, 31 percent resulted in at least one acute injury and 52 percent resulted in an evacuation. Of the 74 incidents caused by intentional acts, 43 percent were associated with an injury.

The article can be found here.

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