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100 FedEx employees treated after chili pepper leak

More than 100 FedEx employees at the company's Memphis, Tenn., parcel hub were treated for exposure after a forklift punctured a barrel of concentrated chili peppers used to make pepper spray.

Memphis Fire Department spokesman Lt. Wayne Cooke told NBC News the five-gallon container was damaged by a FedEx employee outside the building early Thursday, and 117 employees were evaluated and decontaminated by fire rescue personnel.

Cooke said the fire department initially responded to a hazmat alert, but the situation was not that dire. 

Most of those affected were treated at the scene, but a 53-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman were taken to the hospital, complaining of chest pains. 

The peppers in the container are used to make pepper spray. The exposed material, capsaicin, is an irritant that is not fatal, authorities said.

The substance has been contained and is no longer a threat. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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