Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Poisoned Southampton student remains in hospital

Southampton University
Image caption Staff at the university have been offered screening

A postgraduate student from Southampton University remains in hospital after he became ill with chemical poisoning.

Tests revealed the 25-year old chemistry student, who fell ill three weeks ago, had arsenic and the highly toxic metal Thallium in his body.

He is being treated in Cardiff at a specialist toxicology unit. His condition is not known.

Research labs at the university remain closed as a precaution and a police investigation is under way.

Deadly poisons

Tests are also being carried out by specialist teams from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service at a non-university property in Burgess Road.

Police said the incident did not relate to any leak or airborne emission from university buildings, is not transmittable and may not be connected with the university at all.

Thallium, a potent toxin, was once incorporated into rat poison. It is used today in the manufacturing of electronic devices.

Exposure to large amounts will cause vomiting, diarrhoea, temporary hair loss, and will affect the nervous system, lungs, heart, liver, and kidneys.

Arsenic is also a highly toxic metalloid which can cause multiple organ failure in those who ingest it.

It is not known how he was exposed to the deadly chemicals.

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