Staff at OHSU Pontiac Hospital were put on lockdown Tuesday morning after having been flooded with up to 150,000 cases of an unidentified fluid, which is reportedly being tested in Michigan. Emergency responders told local news affiliates that the waste product is similar to aluminum sulfate, which is used to help clean up oil spills and is toxic to dogs.
Staff said it was “not known if this is an infectious disease or not.”
The substance was first discovered at a hospital in Hackensack, New Jersey, in early August, where hospital officials tested the substance and claimed it was nontoxic. In Michigan, officials notified public health officials and reported that the substance was unknown.
Amy Pollack, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, said that the discharge of the liquid could have caused respiratory and liver problems, as well as brain damage in animals. “At this point, we don’t know where this stuff came from,” she said.
Hospitals in West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula are now treating a growing number of patients who have been treated with the substance.
Amid the wide-ranging speculation surrounding the cause of the problem, speculation has, for some, taken the form of humor. Several Twitter users posted images of the milk bottles being carted off to a distributor.
@BrockSpeaks Back in the day if I got one of these, I would put them under a table until I knew what was in it. And then I would let it spill. #letitflow — Kayla Bluen (@KaylaBluen) September 19, 2017