UPDATE: Lewiston hazmat scare caused by dog repellent

LEWISTON, N.Y. (WIVB)- The aerosol irritant that caused seven postal workers in Lewiston to get sick was dog repellent, according to postal inspectors.

The repellent comes in a canister, which started to leak; most postal workers are issued repellent for their safety if they need to deliver mail outside.

A source tells News 4 the affected workers are all doing fine. They were initially taken to the hospital and quarantined while haz-mat crews investigated.

The Niagara County Haz-Mat Unit entered the Lewiston Post Office Wednesday in three two-man teams.

Crews’ meters picked up a reading from the repellent in the area where the mail is processed.

They weren’t exactly sure what it was, only that it wasn’t toxic.

“It wasn’t sprayed. In other words, no one accidentally or intentionally or inadvertently caused this to happen,” said postal inspector, Raymond Williams.

Williams told News 4 he’s not sure how the canister started to leak, but is confident this was accidental.

Lewiston Police have determined nothing criminal occurred. The investigation from the postal service is now complete.

None of the mail from the Lewiston branch was contaminated, and service resumed as usual Thursday.

Williams said initially the investigation pointed towards the irritant coming from a piece of mail, but as more data was gathered, it became clear it was coming from a drawer in the mail processing room.

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