Cloud of chile powder causes NM hazmat situation

October 17, 2013 • State News

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A cloud of habanero chile powder sent one woman to a hospital and hazardous materials crews to a Las Cruces industrial park.

Workers called 911 around 7:45 p.m. Wednesday complaining of [auth] irritated eyes, sore throats and bloody noses.

New Mexico State Police say hazmat crew and emergency personnel responded to the scene.

Officials determined that habanero chile particles lingered in the cold evening air after employees finished their work, then went into ventilation systems.

A company in the Santa Teresa Industrial Park grinds chile pods into powder.

Authorities say habanero chiles are hotter than most and the dust created the mass irritation.

The Las Cruces Sun-News ( says 30 people were treated at the scene and released.

Authorities say the woman sent to the hospital had a previous breathing ailment.

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