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No Danger Reported in Air, Water, After Fumes Hospitalize La Grange Workers

La Grange Fire Chief says the eight employees hospitalized were able to walk out of Grayhill Inc.; cleanup of the incident required ventilation of the building, he said.

La Grange officials say the public is in no danger regarding chemicals in the air or water after several La Grange factory workers were hospitalized following exposure to a fume known to cause respiratory irritation.

Emergency crews brought eight employees of Grayhill Inc. to Adventist Memorial Hospital for evaluation at about 6:30 a.m. March 14 after the workers reported feeling light-headed and dizzy due to inhaling fumes of a chemical that had been used to clean up a recent ink spill at the La Grange-based computer component manufacturer.

The employees, who were both males and females, were able to walk out of the building, down from their second floor workspace at Grayhill, 561 Hillgrove Ave., said La Grange Fire Chief William J. Bryzgalski. Ambulances from La Grange Park, Western Springs, Riverside, Hinsdale, Hillside, Westchester and the Pleasantview Fire Protection District helped transport the employees, he said.

The employees were treated and released, according to a spokesperson for Adventist La Grange Memorial. No more information about the employees was available from the hospital.

Jason Kandik, marketing manager of Grayhill, said he in an e-mail to Patch that he confirmed the incident happened and, “At this time, without the full information, I will have to decline to comment.”

Grayhill staff were already airing out the building when the Fire Department arrived, Bryzgalski said. The La Grange Fire Department made sure the cleanup was complete, which it was, and re-ventilated the building, Bryzgalski said. The incident terminated at 8 a.m., he said.

Chemicals did not travel into the waste water line, Bryzgalski said.

The incident occurred after a “very little” amount of ink used to label electrical components spilled and employees used 36 ounces of a Thinner VD chemical to clean it up, the chief said. “The fumes started to get everybody," he said.

Thinner VD is a thinner/diluiant that contains solvent naophtha (petroleum), cyclohexanone, n-butul acetate and methoxy-methylethyl, according to the Website of its manufacturer, Teca Print USA in Billerica, MA. Exposure can irritate the respiratory system and victims should be taken out to fresh air and kept warm, the Website states.

Grayhill is a leader in electronic operator interface solutions, according to its Website, with "more than 60 years of history designing and manufacturing quality switches, optical encoders, joysticks, keypads, custom front panels and panel computers for a-applications in the agriculture, construction, defense, aerospace, medical, automotive and electronics industries."

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