October 1, 1943
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, New York
I am writing to report a fatal accident caused by one of your packaged organic chemicals, to ask if any similar accidents
have been reported to you, and to suggest that you consider possible improvements in the method of packaging this substance.
On September 23, 1943, Mrs. Elizabeth M. Swingle, a young woman, twenty-nine years old, who had received a MAster's Degree
in Bacteriology and had worked as Stock Room Keeper of the chemical stockroom in the Crellin Laboratory for about a year,
went to the chemical vault in the sub-basement of the Laboratory, and removed form the shelf a one kilogram bottle of ethylchlorocarbonate
(Pract.), stabilized with calcium carbonate, Eastman P591. She walked to the foot of the elevator shaft, and, while she was
standing there, the liquid sprayed out of the bottle and over her head and shoulders, the cap apparently having been blown
off. Whether or not she had removed the cellophane covering over the cap is not known. She was immediately put under the shower
in an adjacent room, and later her clothing was removed and she was carefully washed again. She was then taken to the Huntington
Memorial Hospital, and oxygen therapy was instituted, but she died in about eight hours.
It seems to us that this accident could not have been avoided by any change in procedure, and that it was due presumably
to the development of pressure in the bottle of ethylchlorocarbonate and calcium carbonate through their reaction and the
liberation of carbon dioxide. We would be glad to have your opinion about this, and we suggest that you consider the desirability
of replacing the calcium carbonate by another stabilizer.
We think that it would be wise to send a statement about this accident to Industrial and Engineering Chemistry News Edition,
and we propose to do this in a few days. Please let us have any comments that you wish to make.
cc to J. B. Koepfli