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Seven JFK Airport employees recovering after being exposed to hazardous chemical during spill

Photo courtesy of Port Authority

A 55-gallon drum containing a hazardous chemical was struck by a forklift and began leaking at JFK Airport on May 5, causing seven people to be hospitalized after suffering burns and respiratory problems, according to the Port Authority.

The incident occurred at about 11:55 a.m. on Friday when airport employees started complaining of respiratory distress and burns on their skin. The Port Authority Police Department Emergency Service Unit was called to Hangar 9 where they found the leaking drum. Hangar 9 is used to warehouse commercial products.

The employees were taken to Jamaica Hospital, where they were treated for their injuries.

Police confirmed that the substance was Origanum, an oil that is deemed toxic and corrosive and used in makeup and flavoring. It was shipped to the United States from Hungary, according to a Port Authority Spokesperson.

The Emergency Service Unit packed the drum into another container and transported it to a remote area.

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