TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Three people were injured after an incident inside an Arizona State University lab on Tuesday.

It happened at about 11:30 a.m. at the ASU campus in Tempe. The incident reportedly involved overpressurization during a decontamination process, which is normally a routine process. An ASU spokesman said it's "believed to have been caused after a high-pressure release of a cylinder containing chlorine dioxide ...."

Two of the injured people, a 52-year-old man and a 27-year-old man, were in serious condition and transported to the hospital. Their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening. The third injured person refused further treatment. All three were contractors and not students. 

The lab is part of the Biodesign Institute. The ASU spokesman said the the floor of the building where the lab is located was evacuated as a precaution.

The Biodesign Institute has stepped up to help with Arizona's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It's not clear if Tuesday's incident was related to work with the coronavirus.

"Chlorine dioxide is used as a disinfectant and for odour (sic) and taste control in water and in food sanitation," according to a World Health Organization document on drinking-water quality. The paper noted that the chemical compound "is explosive under pressure."

Stay with Arizona's Family as the story develops. 


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