Acid Spills On Sidewalk

Thomas MacMillan PhotoA delivery of acid to a Yale lab building went wrong Friday morning, ending up not in the hands of researchers but splattered on the sidewalk outside.

Someone delivering a bottle of formic acid to the Malone Engineering Center at the corner of Trumbull and Prospect Street dropped the box containing the acid, spilling some of the liquid onto the sidewalk.

The accident happened at around 10:45 a.m. Friday, said Phil Colavecchio of Yale’s department of environmental health and safety. He was on the scene as two women scrubbed the sidewalk to clean up the acid. They wore thick black gloves, white coats, and floppy yellow booties as they scrubbed the sidewalk with green pads behind yellow caution tape.

The workers, who declined to give their names, were using a product called Spill-X-A to neutralize the acid.

Formic acid is a solvent commonly found in medical research labs, Colavecchio said. He said the bottle that was spilled was probably 500 milliliters.

Formic acid can be dangerous if it comes in contact with the skin, or if it gets spilled in an area that lacks ventilation, Colavecchio said.

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