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Woman burned by toxic iced tea released from hospital

Published: Sunday, Aug. 24 2014 5:40 p.m. MDT

Updated: Monday, Aug. 25 2014 6:27 a.m. MDT

Aug. 14, 2014 - Attorney Paxton Guymon holds a photograph of Jim and Jan Harding during a news conference in Salt Lake City. Jan Harding, 67, who nearly died after unknowingly drinking iced tea mixed with chemicals has been released from a Salt Lake City hospital.

Rick Bowmer, AP

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SALT LAKE CITY — A woman whose mouth and throat were burned from a sip of iced tea tainted with cleaning solution has returned home after spending nearly two weeks in a hospital.

Jan Harding, 67, was released Saturday from the burn unit at University Hospital where she'd been receiving treatment since Aug. 10, according to hospital spokeswoman Marissa Villasenor.

Harding underwent treatment for severe burns in her mouth and throat, with damage to the entire upper third of her esophagus, said her husband, Jim Harding.

Investigators believe the sodium hydroxide-based cleaning chemical was mistaken for sugar and used in mixing iced tea in a drink dispenser.

A restaurant employee was also injured a month before Harding when she put a sample of the mix to her tongue, believing it was sugar. Her tongue then started to blister and bleed, according to Harding's attorney, Paxton Guymon.

The South Jordan Police Department had completed its investigation of both incidents, but the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office had yet to conclude its portion of the investigation. Police believe Harding's injury to be accidental, according to South Jordan Police Sgt. Sam Winkler.

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