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Another Ricin Incident Hits Spokane

APWU Web News Article 061-2013, May 15, 2013

Preliminary lab tests indicated the presence of ricin on two suspicious letters in Spokane WA, the Postal Service told the APWU on May 15. The letters are being analyzed and tested further for hazardous material, according to a Mandatory Stand-Up Talk [PDF] management presented to workers.

One letter was addressed to the Spokane Post Office; the other was addressed to a federal judge in Spokane. Both letters were postmarked May 14.

“We have no reason to believe that any employees are at risk from handling the suspect letters as they passed through the mailstream in Spokane,” management told employees in the Stand-Up Talk. “The substance involved was not in a form that could be inhaled or otherwise readily ingested.

“If anyone were to inhale a quantity of ricin large enough to produce symptoms, they most likely would include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing and would appear within 24 hours. If you have not experienced such symptoms, you should not be concerned.  If you have, we urge you to let your supervisor know and see your doctor promptly for an evaluation.”

The APWU will monitor the situation closely, said APWU President Cliff Guffey. “Our members’ safety is our primary concern,” he said. The union will provide updates as more information becomes available.

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