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28 Treated for Inhaling Acid Fumes

September 12, 2006|From the Associated Press

Five people were taken to a hospital and 23 others were treated for respiratory problems Monday after workers at a Van Nuys office building complained of noxious fumes, fire officials said.

A preliminary investigation determined that organic substances that can be found in food additives, preservatives and building insulation material were the source of the problem, Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey said.

He said hazardous-materials experts found traces of arabinic and gluconic acids.

More than 100 workers were inside the three-story building, which houses a telephone company call center. About 200 high school students at a public charter school near the building were kept inside. None of the students was injured.

Workers on the second floor complained about fumes they suspected were coming from the ventilation system, Humphrey said. The workers left the building.

The five people taken to a hospital complained of upper respiratory irritation, officials said.

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