11/10/2009

40 cleared after exposure to unidentified white powder in NY

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People had intimate contact with envelopes containing white powder are investigated in a vehicle in New York, the United States, Nov. 10, 2009. Envelopes containing white powder were delivered Monday to three missions to the United Nations in midtown Manhattan, touching off a security scare in central New York City, officials said here on Monday night. The three missions are the Missions of Austria, France and Uzbekistan to the United Nations.

NEW YORK, Nov. 10 -- Forty people exposed to an unidentified white powder delivered in envelopes to midtown Manhattan here had no symptoms of contamination after being treated, officials said late Monday.

None of them complained of any ailments, said Firefighter Jose Costa, a spokesman for the Fire Department of New York.

The envelopes with unknown white powder were received between 4:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. EST (2100 and 2330 GMT) Monday in offices of the United Nations missions of Austria, France and Uzbekistan, which are in three different locations in midtown Manhattan, a New York City police spokesman said.

The UN headquarters is located in New York City and Austria holds the rotating president of the UN Security Council this month.

Costa said 33 people were being treated outside the French mission, just one city block from the UN campus. A few others showered in a red tent nearby.

Those people were temporarily isolated in a Fire Department bus labeled Mobile Respiratory Treatment Unit. One bearded young man, waving at someone inside the bus attempted to approach the vehicle, but was stopped by a policeman. "That's my wife," he said, but the officer blocked his way.

Word came that an initial field test on one of the envelopes came back negative to any dangerous substance, but the Federal Bureau of Investigation denied there had been any field tests.

An FBI spokesman said the agency was assisting the New York Police Department in investigating the envelopes. He said the New York City Department of Health was testing the white powder.

The incidents recalled 2001 anthrax attacks in which a handful of people were injured.

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Investigators gather outside the Mission of France to the United Nations in New York, the United States, Nov. 9, 2009.

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People had intimate contact with envelopes containing white powder are investigated in a vehicle in New York, the United States, Nov. 9, 2009.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

People had intimate contact with envelopes containing white powder are investigated in a vehicle in New York, the United States, Nov. 10, 2009.
(Xinhua)

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