'No danger' as school chemical is destroyed in controlled explosion - The Evesham Observer

'No danger' as school chemical is destroyed in controlled explosion

Evesham Editorial 1st Nov, 2016 Updated: 4th Nov, 2016   0

THE DEPUTY headteacher of the De Montfort School has reassured parents and residents after a controlled explosion was carried out by the bomb disposal unit.

The incident took place on Monday (October 31) on the school’s playing fields when a potentially dangerous chemical found in the school was destroyed.

The chemical, 2,4-Dinitrophenol (DNP), had been stored in the Four Pools Road school’s science department for 21 years.

However, following warnings by CLEAPSS over half-term on its risks, the school was advised to contact the police to organise a safe disposal of the chemical.

Speaking to the Observer, Stuart Weston, deputy headteacher of The De Montfort School confirmed there were no children on site when the explosion was carried out.

“This has been a national issue and the Home Office and police have already worked with a number of schools across the country.

“We contacted the police yesterday after being notified by CLEAPSS.

“The school was advised by them not to release any information about the incident, in case it raised unnecessary alarm or concern.

“We have hardly used the chemical over the time it has been at the school, but were told there was a low risk of it causing a small explosion or fire if it was dropped.

“The whole operation took just 30 minutes and was done in a safe and controlled environment,” he added.

The De Montfort School was one of least a dozen schools who have reportedly summoned military bomb disposal teams to conduct controlled explosions in recent days.

Last week, schools received a reminder from the advisory body CLEAPSS (the Consortium of Local Education Authorities for the Provision of Science Equipment) on how to correctly store the substance.

The chemical is used in A-level chemistry lessons and can become dangerous if it is allowed to dry out.

It is supposed to be stored in a labelled jar which is then kept inside an outer jar topped up with water as a precaution.

Accoriding to the CLEAPSS website: “If there is no water in the outer container or the reagent bottle has not been placed inside an additional container you must assume that the material has dried out, meaning that an additional risk is present.”

Any schools concerned about the risk posed by the substance can call the CLEAPSS helpline on 01895 251496.

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