Brussels museum staffers hospitalised with suspected formaldehyde poisoning
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Brussels museum staffers hospitalised with suspected formaldehyde poisoning

Eight employees were hospitalised after a formalin-filled jar they were handling broke. Credit: Needpix

Eight employees of a Brussels museum were hospitalised after exhibiting signs of suspected formaldehyde poisoning after a formalin-filled jar they were handling shattered.

The incident in Brussels’ Museum of Natural Sciences did not affect any members of the public since it took place in a room which is accessible only by staff.

The staff members were taken to the hospital as a precaution after they “showed signs of irritation of the airways,” Walter Deriuew, spokesperson of the Brussels fire brigade, said in a statement.

The incident prompted an intervention from the department’s hazardous materials crew, who Derieuw said “took the necessary measures” in an examination carried out in hazmat suits.

The fire crew said the museum staff, which is trained to deal with the dangerous materials, would clear the room of the volatile and toxic substance themselves.

According to Derieuw, the incident was not serious enough to warrant an evacuation, since visitors were not exposed to the spill, which was contained to a single room.

“There was no danger for the museum’s visitors nor for the museum’s surroundings,” Derieuw said, adding that the measured amounts of the substance were “not alarming.”

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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