Lab Experiment That Burned Teen Has Bad Track Record

Feds warned about 'Rainbow' last month
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2014 8:58 AM CST

A 16-year-old Manhattan student was nearly burned to death this week in a school science experiment gone horribly wrong, reports the Daily News, and it turns out that the experiment in question has a long track record of such accidents. In fact, the US Chemical Safety Board issued a video warning about "the Rainbow" less than a month ago, reports the New York Times. The incident at Beacon High School followed the usual pattern: a teacher used an accelerant (methanol) to burn minerals and produce different colored flames.

Except one of the flames turned into a fireball that severely burned Alonzo Yanes and gave another student less serious injuries. The students weren't wearing goggles or aprons, and the New York Post reports that other safety protocols weren't followed. The CSB warning last month included a video that featured 23-year-old Calais Weber, who nearly died at age 15 in a similar accident. "I read this article last night about the New York students and honestly, I cried," she tells the Times. "I can’t believe this keeps happening.” The CSB, an independent federal agency, did not call for the experiment to be banned, but it cited several such accidents across the country. “What do we need to do to stop the cycle?” asks an investigator with the board. (More science experiment stories.)

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