A teenage girl in Greensboro, NC was injured after an explosion in her high school chemistry class. The explosion took place at Western Guilford High School when a licensed chemistry teacher attempted an experiment with ethanol, alcohol, and salt. The experiment went awry, resulting in a chemical explosion that burned eleventh-grader Aimee Green. Green was admitted to the burn unit at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital after suffering burn injuries to her hair, face, chest, and arm. School officials say that another student suffered minor injuries in the explosion. The chemistry teacher, who had been teaching at the school since 1999, is suspended while school district officials investigate to determine whether safety protocols were followed in the classroom.

Dangerous Chemistry Class Experiments Can Cause Serious Burn Injuries to Students

Too many students have suffered burn injuries from failed experiments in chemistry class. The National Science Teachers Association issued a safety advisory in 2014 about the dangers of a popular chemistry lab demonstration known as the “rainbow flame,” which involves igniting a pool of ethyl alcohol on a lab table and adding salts to change the color of the flames.

Rainbow Fire

A “rainbow flame” fire in 2015 that burned five students in Virginia led the school district in Fairfax County to rewrite its safety protocols and ban the demonstration. A young woman who suffered burns on over 40% of her body during a “rainbow flame” demonstration has become a safety advocate and released a video with the CSB about the dangers of high school chemistry accidents. Just weeks after the CSB released the safety message warning people about the dangers of the “rainbow flame” experiment, a high school sophomore in Manhattan suffered serious third-degree burn injuries from an accident caused by that very same experiment. About two years ago, 12 preschoolers were injured from a “rainbow flame” experiment in Houston.

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