WATERVILLE — Three people were taken to the 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 while the chemical would not cause serious harm, chronic exposure could cause respiratory and skin problems.

Multiple emergency vehicles blocked southbound traffic in front of the apartment building at 270 Main St., slowing 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, Fire Chief David LaFountain said. 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 names of the woman involved and those taken to the hospital were not released.

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 when officials responded 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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