Educators cautioned about classroom demonstrations involving fire

WASHINGTON, July 26, 2018 — The risks of classroom demonstrations that involve lighting solvents on fire are outlined in an article in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Chemical Education. Over the past 20 years, 164 children and educators have been reported as injured by flash fires, flame jets and projectiles after the presenter lost control of the experiment. The most problematic of these has been the “rainbow demonstration.”

The article, “Playing with Fire: Chemical Safety Expertise Required,” discusses why such experiments continue to be performed and encourages safer practices

The series “Guidelines for Chemical Laboratory Safety” and other resources about chemical and laboratory safety are available at

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