UPDATE on Metal Poisoned Student: Uni Labs Re-Opened & Student House Investigated

A house on Burgess Road is being investigated by Police in relation to the student poisoned by metals.

Developments in the incident surrounding a hospitalised PhD student after suffering poisoning from heavy metals have occurred with a student house in Burgess Road under investigation, and most of the Uni chemistry labs reopening.

As reported by the Soton Tab, a 25 year old chemistry PhD student had been taken to a special toxicology unit at a hospital in Cardiff after suffering thallium and arsenic poisoning. He was admitted to a Southampton hospital nearly four weeks ago and moved to Cardiff on Thursday after the chemicals were detected. He is said to be in a stable condition.

Chemistry buildings 30 and 30a had been closed for investigations but most areas of these buildings are now accessible. Level 2 of building 30 is still off limits whilst the police continue to investigate.

Police have been at the house since last week

The research student’s house in Burgess Road is under investigation by the Police. There has been police presence for the past few days at the shared student home.

A post-graduate student who lives in the house on Burgess Road, who has asked not to be named, had been temporarily evicted by the authorities during the investigation but has today been allowed to return. The University had given them a room in halls during that time.

They told The Tab:

I was told on Thursday that I would need to leave my house and wouldn’t be able to return until Tuesday, at the earliest. Lots of chemicals were sprayed in there and it was off limits for several days.

They and their other housemates have been interviewed by the police and have also been to Southampton General Hospital to undergo tests.

A spokesperson from Hampshire Constabulary said:

 We’re co-operating with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to find out why he is in this state and also to investigate whether anything criminal has happened.

The Tab has been contacted by a source close to the hospitalised student and has said he too has been tested for chemical poisoning. This anonymous source has claimed that the thallium and arsenic victim (who cannot be named) allegedly did not handle the chemicals in the University’s laboratory as part of his research work. The University were unable to confirm or deny this claim.

Tests have been carried out in building 30 (except level 2, which is still being investigated by police) and found levels of thallium and arsenic were well below the acceptable limit set by the HSE.

The University say that they hope level 2 of the building will be possibly reopened at the end of the week “following their release by the authorities”.

They also expressed that this situation will not affect new or current students who study chemistry and that courses will commence as scheduled.