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Ricin - Information & Recommendations
Ricin is a poison that can be breathed in (inhaled), swallowed (ingested) or introduced into the body through a break in the skin (injected). It can be in the form of a powder, a mist, a solid or pellet, or it can be dissolved in liquid.
Recommendations for Handling Suspicious Letters or Packages
Recommendations for Handling Suspicious
Letters or Packages
Some characteristics of suspicious packages and envelopes include:
Inappropriate or unusual labeling, such as
Handwritten or poorly typed addresses
Misspellings of common words
Strange return address or no return address
Incorrect titles or title without a name
Not addressed to a specific person
Marked with restrictions, such as "Personal," "Confidential," or "Do not x-ray"
Marked with any threatening language
Postmarked from a city or state that does not match the return address
Powdery substance felt through or appearing on the package or envelope
Oily stains, discolorations, or odor
Lopsided or uneven envelope
Excessive packaging material such as masking tape, string, etc.
Other suspicious signs
Protruding wires or aluminum foil
If a package or envelope appears suspicious, do not open it.
Handling of Suspicious Packages or Envelopes
Do not shake or empty the contents of any suspicious package or envelope.
Do not carry the package or envelope, show it to others or allow others to examine it.
If possible, put the package or envelope in a plastic bag to prevent leakage of the contents. If a bag or container is not available, cover the envelope with a trash can or box.
Do not sniff, touch, taste, or look closely at it or at any contents that may have spilled.
Alert others in the area about the suspicious item. Leave the area, close any doors, and take actions to prevent others from entering. Shut off fans and the ventilation system.
Wash your hands with soap and water.
Notify your local law enforcement agency or follow other procedures established for this situation. If at work, also notify your supervisor.
Make a list of everyone who was in the room or area when this suspicious letter or package was recognized and a list of those who may have handled this package or letter. Give this list to law enforcement officials and local public health authorities.