A UC Berkeley researcher was preparing a sample for microscopy. After he had cleaned the sample with isopropanol, he poured the extra isopropanol into a container for unwanted chemicals labeled “isopropanol.” There was an immediate chemical reaction that caused the plastic container to rupture and spray the mixture around the area. He was later surprised to learn that the container actually held concentrated nitric acid in the form of spent copper etchant.
The researcher was startled and called for help. Other researchers promptly came to his assistance and called 911. When he felt a burning sensation on his skin, he washed his body and face in the nearby emergency eyewash and safety shower for approximately five minutes. The UC Police Department (UCPD), the Berkeley Fire Department (BFD), and the Office of Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S) responded. However, the researcher did not wait for these emergency personnel and was escorted by a colleague on foot across campus to the University Health Service (UHS) Tang Center to be medically evaluated. The researcher was later released after being treated for acid burns.