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Volume 68, Isssue 106, Friday, February 28, 2003


Students may be punished for epoxy scare

By Geronimo Rodriguez
The Daily Cougar

Ten UH architecture students, including one who phoned the 911 emergency dispatch Thursday after experiencing a rash and shortness of breath, could be punished for misusing an epoxy compound.

A hazardous materials truck arrived with a fire engine in response to a 911 call a student made after experiencing a rash and shortness of breath. 

Pin Lim/The Daily Cougar

Two students were mixing epoxy, a glue which emits strong and sometimes harmful fumes while drying, when they began to break out with a poison ivy-like rash on their forearms, said Bob Schneller, UH executive director of safety and risk management.

At approximately 11:30 a.m., before a Houston firefighter and hazardous materials crews arrived at the site, Schneller said the architecture buildingis fourth floor was evacuated. While tests were conducted to determine the toxicity of the fumes, the rest of the building was fully accessible to students.

Joe Mashburn, dean of architecture, said the incident could have been handled appropriately without external aid. He also said students, who were working on an architectural project, should not have been in the building using the epoxy in such a way.

"We have a policy that forbids those chemicals to be mixed like that in the studios, building or even around the building for fear that the fumes would make their way into the air-conditioning system," Mashburn said.

When asked whether professor Peter Zweig and his students would be punished for not adhering to policy, Mashburn said it is yet to be determined.

At 12:55 p.m., save for the fume-filled studio, officials indicated that the building was safe.

The remains of the epoxy compound and project were taken away by Scheller and placed in the campusi hazardous material storage building until the fumes dissipate, Scheller said.

Mashburn said the studentsi names were not being withheld, but he did not know them. When asked about the situation while the fourth floor studio was being "aired out," students involved with the incident refused to comment on the situation.

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