February 26, 2006
Not ricin after all?
Whatever it was they found in the UT dorm, it apparently was not ricin.
A University of Texas at Austin student from Pearland was taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital Friday night and "tested negative for any toxin" after she discovered a white powder that tested positive for the deadly toxin ricin.
Officials with the Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services said late Saturday, however, that subsequent tests have indicated the powder might not be ricin, UT Director of Communications Rhonda Weldon said.
Special Agent Rene Salinas of the FBI's San Antonio office said the agency believed the incident "is not terrorist-connected."
But he said a team of experts on weapons of mass destruction had flown from FBI headquarters in Quantico, Va., to Austin to collect samples of the powder for further testing.
Other federal agents "are trying to determine the exact origin of this material," Salinas said, noting that additional testing would be completed over the weekend.
Strange. Better that what we thought at first, but strange. At least no one appears to have been harmed by whatever this is.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 26, 2006 to The great state of Texas
I sort of doubted the whole Ricin thing from the get-go. Just didn't make any sense, especialy when there were no symptoms.
I always found that mysterious white powders generally turn out to be baking soda or powdered sugar...
My how times have changed. I can recall when white powder used to show up on a college campus and the first inclination would be to find a straw not test it as a biological weapon.
Damn you, terrorists!
It was laundry soap. The kind one might find in a laundermat where it was found.
My, how paranoid we've become, especially since 9/11 but even before. Given the variety of substances that can be described as "white powders:" sugar, salt, soda, sheetrock, soap, illegal drugs, rat poison (see below), etc., WTF is the matter with our officials when their first inclination is to test for biochemical weapons, even when no one is ill?
I can recall when white powder used to show up on a college campus and the first inclination would be to find a straw not test it as a biological weapon.
An unwise inclination. Some Russian servicemen nearly died from a similar stunt.