If you ever want to know just how powerful concentrated chili peppers truly are, be sure to ask the numerous Federal Express employees who were recently exposed to the substance. According to NBC News, over 100 individuals were treated after a five-gallon container was damaged by a worker operating a forklift. The incident took place at a hub located at the Memphis International Airport, though no other areas were reportedly affected.
The concentrated chili peppers, which were marked as a dangerous good, forced fire rescue officials to evaluate and decontaminate the 117 employees who were effected by the leak. Exposure to capsaicin, an irritant, is not considered to be fatal. Still, it’s not something you’d want to subject yourself to on a regular basis. Anyone who has watched an episode of Jackass can attest to the powerful effects of the eye-burning, nose-irritating substance.
“Basically, it was the hot in hot sauce,” FedEx spokesman Chris Stanley explained to The Commercial Appeal. “The chemical can obviously be used for several different things. We know this particular batch was headed to be turned into hot sauce.”
Two unidentified employees, 53-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman, were taken to an area hospital after complaining of chest pains. The rest of the Federal Express workers were treated on-site. The chemical has since been contained and is no longer considered to be a problem.
“There were some employees complaining of some irritants. They were treated on the scene. There were other employees in that area that continued working after a short delay,” Stanley said.
The origin and destination of the shipment of concentrated chili peppers is currently unknown. As Stanley explains it, the package was “moving through the hub.” Altogether, the shutdown cost the company about an hour’s worth of work.
“It caused no problems in the system,” Stanley said.