Workers reported not being able to breathe while sorting materials that were dropped off. JOHN SPINK / JSPINK@AJC.COM

Fumes cause 16 workers breathing problems at Cobb recycling center

Thirteen people were taken to the hospital and three others evaluated on scene Thursday at RockTenn Recycling in Cobb County after being exposed to a substance dumped off, according to the fire department.

Workers at the facility, on County Services Parkway in Marietta, reported not being able to breathe while sorting materials that were dropped off shortly after 8 a.m., according to Lt. Dan Dupree with the Cobb fire department.

“Apparently someone, in the garbage that was brought here, some kind of liquid caused some difficulty breathing in several workers,” Dupree said.

Firefighters and a hazardous materials team was called to the facility to decontaminate workers.

“It’s a liquid, but it’s mixed in with a whole tractor-trailer load of garbage,” Dupree said Thursday morning.

None of the injuries were believed serious, but some were taken to the hospital as a precaution, Dupree said.

Late Thursday, firefighters found a nearly empty container of floor cleaner that had overturned and mixed with other items being disposed, and that spill was believed responsible for the fumes.

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