- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 29, 2014

CUMMING, Ga. (AP) - Forsyth County fire officials say five people working at the county’s water plant have been hospitalized in a chemical spill.

Fire Chief Jason Shivers says the workers were unloading sodium hydroxide from a truck when residual gas was released and caused eye irritation Tuesday afternoon.

According to the National Institutes of Health, sodium hydroxide - also known as lye and caustic soda - is found in many industrial solvents and cleaners. Exposure to the chemical is known to cause reactions in several areas of the body including the eyes, skin, airways and lungs.

The workers were treated by a nearby hazardous materials team and were taken to Northside Hospital in Forsyth. Shivers told the Forsyth News the workers are employed by a private contractor that operates the water plant.

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