WATERVILLE — Three people were taken to a hospital for evaluation after a woman oversprayed her apartment on upper Main Street with bug spray.

City fire officials responded with hazmat suits to the incident and said that while the chemical would not cause serious harm, chronic exposure could cause respiratory and skin problems.

Multiple emergency vehicles blocked off southbound traffic in front of the apartment building at 270 Main St., slowing down afternoon traffic going both ways.

The fire department responded around 12:45 p.m. after someone in the multi-unit building complained of respiratory problems, said Chief David LaFountain. Emergency responders came prepared to deal with serious phosphate chemicals, he said, but found that a resident of the apartment had just sprayed a large amount of bug spray all over her apartment because she is afraid of germs.

The bug spray contains diatomaceous earth, a fine powder that can be harmful to the lungs. Chronic exposure can lead to skin problems as well, LaFountain said.

Two women and one man, a maintenance worker, were in the apartment and were treated at the scene for exposure. They were also taken to the hospital to check for further damage. One reported harm to the skin.

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