Northeastern Investigates After Cyanide Death

Northeastern University is conducting a review of how it handles dangerous chemicals after a school lab worker was found dead in her home with a bag marked "cyanide" next to her.

Although autopsy results have not been released, authorities think 30-year-old Emily Staupe poisoned herself by mixing cyanide with orange juice and milk. Police arrived at her Milford home at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday in response to a call from her family.

The discovery of cyanide prompted a massive hazardous materials response to Staupe's home and a commuter rail station, where her car was found.

Staupe worked in the university's psychology department where cyanide is kept, but school and law enforcement officials are not certain that she took the poison from work.

Northeastern says it will review its policies on potentially dangerous chemicals. Melvin Bernstein, the university's vice provost for research, will head the review.

As for the rest of Boston's educational institutions, Boston City Councilor Stephen Murphy wants to talk with all colleges and universities in the city about how they handle hazardous chemicals.

Murphy says the city needs to track dangerous chemicals.

"It calls into question what type of protocols are there internally at that lab and other labs across the city that allows that type of conduct or behavior to happen," Murphy said.

This program aired on September 14, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.


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