A University of Kansas graduate student is in critical condition at a Lawrence hospital this morning, the result of a suspected accidental sodium azide poisoning that may have occurred while he was working in a lab late Wednesday night, school officials said.
As a precaution, Malott Hall, where the lab is located, was temporarily evacuated early today and was inspected by KU's Office of Environment, Health and Safety. The building later was reopened.
Sodium azide is a rapidly acting, potentially deadly chemical that exists as an odorless white solid, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is best known as the chemical found in automobile airbags.
The university also sent text and e-mail messages to students, faculty and staff this morning to notify them of the situation.