A Bohemia company that refurbishes cellphones was doing a thorough cleaning of its building Friday, a day after workers were sickened by fumes unleashed by the mixing of two cleaning solutions.
"I had my crew in to wipe this building clean from top to bottom as a safety precaution only," Stephen Smith, facilities manager for the refurbisher, CWG Communications, said as he walked through the workplace Friday with a Newsday reporter.
The fumes were released Thursday afternoon when a worker who wipes cellphones clean poured new cleaning solution, a clear liquid, into a small container that had residue of an old cleaning solution that the firm had discontinued use of, Smith said.
"She comes back to the desk, then she started getting sick," Smith said. "It was a completely honest mistake . . . It was the last bottle there that was left with the old agent in it."
The company had switched cleaning agents because the new one does a better job, Smith said.
He declined to name the cleaning fluids, but said they were available to the public at retailers like Home Depot.
The company, which does business with Verizon, Motorola and other mobile phone manufacturers, notified authorities and the building was evacuated as first responders from several jurisdictions arrived.
The Town of Islip said Friday that 54 workers were taken to area hospitals to be checked, but that none was admitted. A town spokesman said the company was cooperating fully with the town fire marshal, who was conducting an investigation of the incident.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the federal workplace safety regulator, said Friday it had opened an investigation, as it usually does when such incidents come to its attention. Agency officials said it was too early to say when the investigation would be finished.