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Investigation after University of Southampton student is exposed to arsenic and thallium
POLICE have launched an investigation after a student fell ill after being exposed to arsenic.
The 25-year-old PHD chemistry student was found to have traces of thallium and arsenic in their body.
Exactly how the chemicals came to be in the student's body is unknown, so the University of Southampton has closed down some research labs while the investigation by police and HSE continues.
Others that work in related areas of the university will be given the chance to undergo voluntary screening.
It has already been established this does not relate to any leak or airborne emission from the buildings and is not transmittable and may not be connected with the University at all.
The affected student is currently being treated at a specialist toxicology unit at a hospital in Cardiff.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service specialist HAZMAT officers are assisting with the investigation and are conducting tests within a property in Burgess Road. This is being treated as an isolated incident and staff and students at the University and other members of the public are not believed to be at risk.
Detective Chief Inspector Pete McGowan, said: “We are keeping an open mind on how the student has been exposed to the chemicals and are investigating all scenarios at the moment.
“We and the HSE are leading this enquiry and we have no reason to think that there is any risk to public health.”
University Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Adam Wheeler, said: “Our thoughts are with our student and their family at this difficult time for them and our student support staff are providing further assistance.
“The safety of our staff and students is of paramount importance to the University and we have proactively taken measures to ensure their health and well-being. At part of this we are co-operating and taking advice form the relevant authorities.”