UNITED STATES−On Saturday, September 19, the FBI announced that they were investigating a suspicious package that was reportedly addressed to President Trump and the White House. Authorities at an off-site mailing facility intercepted the mail that authorities have indicated tested positive for the deadly drug, Ricin.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), The U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), and the U.S. Secret Service announced that the suspicious package is currently under investigation and that they do not believe that the public’s safety is in danger.
Ricin which is produced in the seeds of the castor oil plant, Ricinus communis, is an incredibly potent toxin. A dose the size of a few grains of salt could potentially kill an adult human. Ricin may be found naturally in castor beans and can cause injury if the beans themselves are chewed or swallowed.
Ricin can be made from the waste material derived from processing the castor beans and may be found in the form of a pellet, a powder, or a mist. It may also be dissolved in water or weak acid.
The CDC reports that If the substance may be inhaled or chewed, and in a few cases, injected. Symptoms of Ricin poisoning would most likely occur in less than 6-12 hours including nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. After that symptoms progress more rapidly over the next 12-24 hours with severe dehydration and problems with kidney and liver functions.
If inhaled symptoms may occur as soon as 4-6 hours and attack the respiratory system with difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. Those symptoms worsen within the next 12-24 hours which may lead to fluid build-up within the lungs and eventually respiratory failure.
Death from ricin poisoning may occur within 36-72 hours depending on the route of exposure. There is no known antidote for Ricin poisoning.
The FBI provided a brief statement regarding the suspicious letter that may be found below.
September 19, 2020
FBI Washington Field Office Statement on Suspicious Letter
The FBI and our U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Postal Inspection Service partners are investigating a suspicious letter received at a U.S. government mail facility. At this time, there is no known threat to public safety.
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