Bomb crews transported a potentially dangerous substance from a Murray lens manufacturing plant Thursday to a West Jordan rifle range, where it was destroyed with explosives.
The 21 gallons of organic peroxide, used to make plastic eyeglass lenses, was removed from Omco Optical after a chemist there discovered it had become unstable.The substance is normally stored at minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure its stability, officials said. It can ignite at temperatures above minus 4 and, when unstable, also can be ignited by impact.
The substance was taken to the disposal site four gallons at a time. The containers were packed in dry ice inside picnic coolers, placed in a dump truck, taken by a convoy of police, medical and fire vehicles to the rifle range and blown up with detonation cord.
Omco chemist Clark Miles discovered the substance had become unstable Wednesday night and the next day asked the Murray Fire Department for help in disposing of it.
Salt Lake County Bomb Disposal Squad members, Midvale Officer Bill Niles and Salt Lake Fire Department member Dennis Stanley were removing the second group of four containers when vapors escaped from a vented cap into Stanley's eyes. He was treated at a hospital then released, and oxygen masks were used after that.
A faulty freezer, combined with the recent warm weather, may have caused the peroxide to go bad, Miles said. The indication something was wrong came when batches of plastic made with the peroxide began to fail, he said.
Omco will now order the substance in smaller lots, Miles said. It is delivered monthly from Texas in refrigerated trucks.