Hazardous Spill Shuts Cottage Hospital lab

Source: http://www.thedailysound.com, September 11, 2009

Hazardous materials crews responded to the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital pathology lab yesterday evening after three gallons of Formalin, a formaldehyde-based preservative, spilled.

City fire Capt. Gary Pitney said 15 to 20 employees were present when the spill occurred just before 6:30 p.m., and all evacuated quickly, limiting exposure to the substance, which he said is respiratory and eye irritant.

He said no one was injured, and because the lab is relatively isolated from the rest of the hospital, fumes didn’t move through the ventilation system.

“Surprisingly, nobody was exposed,” Pitney said. “With fumes you just never know how it’s going to transfer through the ventilation system.”

The hazardous materials unit isolated the spill, and Pitney said a private company was called in to clean it up.

As of 8:30 p.m. the lab remained closed and officials were unsure when it would reopen.

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