It sounds like something from the award-winning former A.M.C. Breaking Bad series: Authorities accused two chemistry professors of producing methamphetamine on Friday in Arkansas.
Instructors Terry D. Bateman (45) and Bradley A. Rowland (40) were indicted for producing methamphetamine and using drug paraphernalia, the Clark County Sheriff's Department said. Meth is a highly addictive drug that, according to the Centers for the Control and Prevention of Disease, can be made illegally with chemicals.
Mr. Bateman and Mr. Rowland are associate professors of chemistry at Henderson State University, a liberal arts college with some 3,500 students in Arkadelphia, about 70 miles southwest of Little Rock.
Dr. med. Hall said the school's Reynolds Science Center closed on October 8 for "a report on an undetermined chemical odor." Tests showed that benzyl chloride was more abundant in a laboratory.
Benzyl chloride is used by the United States Environmental Protection Agency for the manufacture of certain dyes and pharmaceutical products. Short-term inhalation effects include irritation of the skin, eyes and upper respiratory tract.
"Benzyl chloride is a cost-effective and versatile chemical from which many other beneficial drugs and molecules are made," Eric E. Simanek, a professor of chemistry at Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, said Sunday.
Stephen J. Madison, who works at the chemistry faculty of Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut, said that benzyl chloride could be used to make methamphetamine. In the building that reopened on October 29, Ms. Hall said : "The safety of our students, faculty and staff is a top priority and we continue to work with the authorities."
It was not clear if the chemical smell in the school building had triggered law enforcement investigations. Ms. Hall asked questions about whether instructors on campus make meth, the sheriff's department.
Sheriff Jason C. Watson did not respond to a request for comment on Sunday. Professors Bateman and Rowland could not be reached on Sunday. According to the sheriff's department, their judicial manifestations are pending.
In April, Professor Bateman was honored by the school for his ten-year employment, according to the university.
popular "Breaking Bad" series, which ran from 2008 to 2015. The drama followed Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher who is played by Bryan Cranston and becomes an Albuquerque, NM, drug lord if he can not afford his cancer treatments.