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.
For additional information please refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/ricin/index.asp
Recommendations for Handling Suspicious Letters or Packages
Some characteristics of suspicious packages and envelopes include:
- Inappropriate or unusual labeling, such as
- Excessive postage
- 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
- Unusual Appearance
- 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
- Excessive weight
- Ticking sound
- 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.