The deaths of two people following a laboratory explosion at a Chinese university in October have raised alarm among researchers. The full circumstances that led to the deaths at the Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (NUAA), in Jiangsu province, are not yet known — but they come amid wider concerns about safety in university teaching labs in China.
The deaths are the latest in a series of fatalities caused by explosions in academic laboratories in China, often involving students in chemistry departments, that have been reported in recent years. Some researchers are optimistic that the situation is improving. But others say China’s government needs to do more to improve safety.
In the recent incident, nine people were injured and two died as a result of an explosion just before 4 p.m. in the NUAA’s College of Materials Science and Technology, according to a 24 October post by the university on the social-media network Weibo. The NUAA said this week that an investigation was ongoing, but declined to answer Nature’s questions regarding the safety of its laboratories.