At the time of the incident, 29-year-old
postdoctoral fellow, Thea Ekins-Coward, was
combining hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and oxygen
gases from high-pressure cylinders into a lower
pressure container. The mixture was intended for
use as a feedstock in cell growth.
The process has been used almost daily without
incident since 2008 when the project began.
Although the cause of the explosion is under
investigation, it has so far been attributed to
“something out of the ordinary.”
March 16, 2016
Do not attempt to open a corroded valve.
It may not reseal
Never force connections.
Never use adapters to connect regulators.
Use only those compatible with the gas.
Do not use oil, grease, or solvents on the
valve, regulator, or piping of compressed
oxygen since pure oxygen will cause these
materials to burn violently.
Do not drain a cylinder completely.
Air can be sucked back through the valve
contaminating the cylinder or creating an
Only use a tank with a legible label.
Do not rely on the color-coding of the cylinder
since it’s not standardized between vendors.