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Subject: Perfume sets off call-centre hysteria

Written By: Philip Eno on 07/30/09 at 2:57 pm

Workers at a Texas call centre passed out after a colleague started squirting a strong scented perfume.

Thirty-four staff were taken to local hospitals in Fort Worth after Bank of America staff started complaining of dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pains and headaches, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Local fire chief Lt Kent Worley said that the situation started when two workers at the office said they felt dizzy after a co-worker sprayed some perfume.

When others started to complain of the same symptoms, panic spread through the building, with workers fearing they were under chemical attack or the victims of a carbon monoxide leak.

However, when the fire department and teams trained in the handling of hazardous materials searched the building, they found nothing dangerous. Before long, employees were allowed to return to their desks.

Lt Worley told the media that "psychosomatic behaviour" and "contagious fear" had fuelled the situation.

Meanwhile, investigators have failed to identify the brand of perfume that sparked the alarm.

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