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Published On: Sat, Apr 14th, 2018

Stoughton Stands Down as Suspicious Substance Turns Out to Be Water Softener

The town of Stoughton in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, experienced its fair share of drama this week after Stoughton Police station was closed off on Sunday because of a possibly hazardous materials situation.

The town with just under 30,000 inhabitants and 17 miles from Boston looked like a set of a film studio when a Hazardous materials team entirely decked out in complete protective clothing took over Rose Street closing the police station and neighboring roads following a local resident falling ill from an unidentified substance.

photo by Carrie Z. via pixabay

Stoughton Police said a local resident discovered a suspicious substance in a relative’s house after the relative fell ill. The resident carried the white substance to the Stoughton Police station for detectives to examine the materials.

According to officials, the ill resident, while in the station, developed “concerning symptoms,” including irritated skin and eyes.

“While in the station, the resident developed some concerning symptoms that resulted in him being transported to the hospital,” police Lt. John Bonney explained in a Facebook post on the Stoughton Police department’s Facebook page.

A fully kitted state hazardous materials unit from the Department of Fire Services arrived on the scene within a short space of time and investigated the white substance which was still in the black pickup truck belonging to the Stoughton resident next to the police station.

“A test was done on a substance in the vehicle the resident drove to the station in,” Bonney added. “Though he initially displayed symptoms that were concerning, the substance was tested and found to be non-hazardous. Tests revealed the substance was sodium carbonate.”

The chemical Sodium carbonate is a common substance and often used in residential dwellings as part of water softeners. Sodium carbonate is usually known as soda crystals, soda ash or washing soda and can be found in many of the best water softeners available for homes and residences.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exposure to large quantities of Sodium carbonate has been known to cause coughs, irritation and soreness to the eyes, sore throats, and even physical pain if too much of the chemical is ingested or inhaled, or has been in close contact with a person’s eyes or skin.

Shortly after the resident was taken to the nearest hospital on Sunday evening, the white powder was identified, and after ascertaining there was no danger or threat to local residents and neighbors, Rose Street was re-opened to the public.

Author: Jacob Maslow

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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