Health department re-opens after chemical spill

Posted on Friday, July 13, 2012 at 12:33 pm

The Caroline County Health Department offices are open again after a chemical spilled forced them to close for more than a day earlier this week. Fumes from the spill made some staff mildly sick.

A bottle of a dental chemical was accidentally spilled late Tuesday morning, according to Dr. Brooke Rossheim, health director of the Rappahannock Area Health District.

The chemical contained formaldehyde, and the spill emitted “kind of a noxious odor,” he said.

The offices, located at the county’s community services center building on U.S. 301 in Milford, need to be thoroughly ventilated, so they were closed for a day and a half, said Rossheim.

“It’s more of a nuisance kind of a thing,” he said.

No patients suffered any ill effects, but a few staff members exhibited “mild symptoms” caused by the odor, he reported.

One person experienced some nausea, and a couple of others experienced a burning sensation of the mouth and throat. They were checked out by emergency medical technicians. “They were fine,” said Rossheim.

The health department staff cleaned up the spill.

Health officials contacted the manufacturer of the chemical as well as the office of the state toxicologist for advice and recommendations in responding to the spill, said Rossheim.

Those recommendations were to ventilate the offices to remove the odor, he added.


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