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Seven Hospitalized After Chemical Exposure At San Jose Health Center

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) -- Five adults and two children were sent to a hospital after they made contact with a chemical that spilled at a health center in San Jose's Willow Glen neighborhood Wednesday morning, a fire department spokesman said.

Crews responded to a report of an irritant at the Indian Health Center of Santa Clara Valley at 1333 Meridian Ave. around 9:45 a.m., Fire Capt. Christopher Salcido said.

Firefighters arrived to the center, where 17 people were exposed to 1 ounce of cresol, a chemical used as a sealant for children's dental fillings that spilled in a treatment room, Salcido said.

"We have our chemicals in a locked container in the dental laboratory," said Indian Health Center CEO Sonya Tetnowski. "And they reached up to grab something and they knocked it over and it splashed on the ground."

It can be dangerous if it comes in contact with your skin or if you breath in the fumes. Inhalation can cause nausea, vomiting, headaches and troubled breathing.

A hazardous materials team responded to the scene and cleaned up any traces of the chemical in the one-story building, Salcido said.

Seven people who had direct contact with the chemical had to be decontaminated with soap and changed into hospital scrubs before they were transported to a hospital, he said.

Another seven people who inhaled the chemical were OK after they stepped outside for fresh air and three others who were exposed didn't report any problems, according to Salcido.

The building was evacuated before firefighters arrived and crews cleared the scene shortly after noon, he said.

All of the people who were exposed, including the two children and five adults who went to the hospital, were expected to make a full recovery.

Workers at the health center planned to close the facility for the day, Salcido said.

The facility, which opened in 1994, provides medical and dental services, according to the center's website.

© Copyright 2016 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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