Attention Wal-Mart customers: Don't inhale the pepper spray.

Police say more than a dozen customers at the Valley Stream store on Long Island fell ill after two employees accidentally discharged pepper spray into the air.

Police say the gas was in an unmarked canister and that the employees were trying to determine what was in it. Fans in the store helped to circulate the irritant. Sixteen people were sickened, eight seriously enough to require a trip to the hospital. They were treated and released.

Police say the store was evacuated about 8:45 p.m. Saturday. It was deemed safe about an hour-and-a-half later.

A telephone message left seeking comment from Wal-Mart was not immediately returned early Sunday.