Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Curious Case of Ricin at University of Texas?

Ricin is one of the deadliest substances ever created. And somehow, initial tests suggested that a roll of quarters used by a University of Texas student was somehow contaminated with the substance.

Jason Smith of Generation Why has more as does Michelle Malkin, who now links that ABC News is reporting that more tests are needed.
A University of Texas student found a substance in a roll of quarters that tested positive for ricin, a potentially deadly poison, but more tests were needed, officials said Saturday.

The 19-year-old student, who said she unwrapped the powder in her dormitory room Thursday, and her roommate were checked at a hospital for potential exposure to the poison, although neither had any symptoms, officials said.

"I guess you can say I was just weirded out," said Kelly Heinbaugh, a freshman kinesiology major. "It seemed out of place … I figured I'd rather be safe than sorry."

Because people with ricin poisoning develop symptoms within a few hours of exposure, university officials were confident all the students would be fine, said Dr. Theresa Spalding with university student health services.

Symptoms can include anything from difficulty breathing, fever, cough, nausea and sweating to severe vomiting and dehydration.

The university said preliminary test showed the substance to be ricin, but the FBI was conducting further tests, FBI spokesman Rene Salinas said.

"There is nothing to lead us to believe that it is in fact a terrorist act," he said. "There's no link to any terrorism."
That last line is always tossed in, even before the investigations are complete. There is no way that ricin can be accidentally created and then put into a roll of quarters. That's a deliberate act. I understand the need for caution in these matters, and that the authorities do not want to alarm the local population, but they would do a far better job (as would the media) if they simply stated that they're still investigating all aspects of the case and no determinations have been made one way or another.

Junkyard Blog reports of similar strangeness in Richmond, Virginia.

Posted to Basil's Blog.

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