Chemical spill sickens 20 at UVM laboratory

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A University of Vermont building is closed today after a laboratory chemical spill. About 20 people were sickened with symptoms including headaches and nausea. UVM spokesman Enrique Corredera says everyone was okay after getting out of the building and breathing fresh air.

UVM officials say a small amount of the caustic chemical phenol was put through an autoclave in a first floor laboratory in Terrill Hall. Phenol is a chemical used to break open cells in order to extract genetic material. After the phenol was heated in the autoclave, the vapors spread through the building.

University officials expect the building to reopen on Thursday.

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