SALT LAKE CITY — About 200 employees at were evacuated for about an hour Thursday after a white powder was found on a shipment of purses that had just arrived and were unwrapped.

Hazmat crews were called to the business, 955 S. 3800 West, about 12:30 p.m. on a report of two employees feeling ill.

Employees complained of irritation and itchiness on their skin and respiratory problems.

Hazmat crews went inside the warehouse and discovered the white powder was silica, commonly used in moisture packets placed inside shipments, said Salt Lake firefighter Mark Bednarik.

"It's not toxic, it's an irritant," he said.

About 10 employees who complained of feeling ill were checked. Two of them admitted they were feeling sick before they even came to work, Bednarik said. No one was taken to the hospital.

Employees were allowed back into the building about 1:30 p.m.

Pat Reavy

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