A white powder found early yesterday at a Boone mail-handling company caused an evacuation, but it did not turn out to be ricin or some other dangerous powder. Early this morning, the University of Iowa Hygenics Lab released preliminary results, concluding the powder was not hazardous. Other tests over the next 48 hours will be conducted to confirm that. Late yesterday, Boone County Emergency Management coordinator Dave Morlan said their “first priority is to identify the white powder” and “determine the origin of the mailing.” Even before the test results were in, Morlan said there appeared to be no threat to employees or the general public. The FBI along with various state agencies were involved in the investigation and the National Guard was called in to help manage the scene. Morlan said it all started when a woman employed at a mail processing company in Boone opened a letter or package containing an “unknown, powdery substance.” As a precaution, officials took steps to isolate and contain the area where the powder was spilled. The woman was taken to a hospital where she was evaluated and later released. The company’s other employees — there are nearly 300 on the payroll — were evacuated from the building.
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