A Union Pacific railroad hazardous materials team was dispatched to the company's Ozol switching yard in Martinez, CA recently after two railroad employees working near tank cars being filled with alpha-picoline, began having respiratory problems, after some of the organic liquid, spilled during loading.

MARTINEZ -- Two Union Pacific employees were treated at a hospital for respiratory problems Friday night after possibly being exposed to hazardous materials, police said.

The incident occurred shortly before 6:55 p.m., when the employees were loading materials at the Union Pacific train yard at 274 Embarcadero Street, Sgt. Bryan Dodd said.

While working near two tank cars filled with alpha-picoline, an organic liquid used in the production of herbicides and insecticides, some of the material spilled onto the side of the car, authorities said.

The employees began having respiratory problems and they were transported by private vehicle to the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center, where they were treated and released, Dodd said.

All train traffic in the area stopped as multiple public safety agencies, including Martinez and Union Pacific police, arrived at the scene to investigate.

Hazardous materials teams from Union Pacific and the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office inspected rail cars and determined they were structurally sound, police said.

The material vaporized after being exposed to sunlight, authorities said.

Union Pacific conducted an on-site cleanup of the tank car, and train traffic reopened, police said.

Points to consider:

Alpha-picoline (UN 2313) is faintly yellow-green flammable and toxic liquid with an unpleasant odor that is used in the production of herbicides and insecticides. Material is harmful if inhaled, in contact with skin or if swallowed. For general operating procedures refer to the Emergency Response Guidebook, guide # 129.