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Calif. students sick after drinking bottled water

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (AP) -- A dozen students became sick after drinking bottled water from a vending machine at a Southern California junior high school, authorities said.

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (AP) -- A dozen students became sick after drinking bottled water from a vending machine at a Southern California junior high school, authorities said.

The students at La Mesa Junior High School in Santa Clarita complained Thursday of headaches, nausea and dizziness after drinking Aquafina water from a vending machine that appeared to contain a "bleach-like substance," said Los Angeles County fire inspector Steve Zermeno.

He said 12 students were taken to hospitals and released.

"It was kind of cloudy and it tasted kind of funny," eighth-grader Cody Commons told KTLA-TV from a hospital Thursday night. "A couple hours later I started feeling cramps."

Other students reported a chemical smell and having headaches, nausea and dizziness after drinking the bottled water, Zermeno said.

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An FBI team was sent to the school in Santa Clarita, said an agency spokeswoman in Los Angeles, Laura Eimiller.

Jeff Dahncke, spokesman for The Pepsi Bottling Group, which manufactures Aquafina, said there is no evidence the contamination was caused by the company's manufacturing process and Pepsi believes it was an isolated incident.

"We have examined and tasted numerous bottles that were produced at the same time as those in this case and have found them to be free of any problems whatsoever," a Pepsi statement said. "The only products in question have been those that were previously opened, and we are working closely with local authorities to determine exactly what happened."

Pepsi is conducting its own tests, he said. Aquafina, a leading brand of bottled water, is bottled at Pepsi plants from public water sources using a seven-step purification process, according to the Aquafina Web site.

Pat Willett, community liaison for William S. Hart Union School district, said the district ordered all schools to remove the water from vending machines or shut down the machines until further notice.

Cody's dad, Jesse Commons, said parents were notified quickly of the problem.

"Your life flashed before your eyes, you know," he told KTLA.

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