Food Preservative Sends Dozens of Employees to Hospital

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A food preservative that acts as an irritant when mixed with moisture was identified Saturday as the substance that caused 35 employees at a Mira Loma company to be hospitalized.


Several people were decontaminated then loaded into ambulances on June 6, 2014, Sky5 aerial video showed. (Credit: KTLA)

Employees were overcome by an odor of unknown substance Friday night at Swift Transportation at 11888 Mission Blvd. (map), according to a Riverside County Fire Department report.

Ground ambulances and Riverside Transit Authority buses were used to transport 35 employees to a local hospital over the course of about five hours, the report stated.

Sodium benzoate was later identified as the substance.

No one was injured and losses remained at $0 as of Saturday morning, according to the report.

It remained unclear why the employees were taken to a hospital.