Christian Action Network

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Philadephia – Fumes From Packages Sicken Several

(NTARC) UPDATE : The substance that sickened 17 people Friday in Fountain Hill and Bethlehem has been identified as a common industrial solvent, authorities said today.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the material found on FedEx packages is the chemical compound 2-Ethoxyethanol, also known as Cellosolve and ethyl cellosolve. It is used as an anti-icing compound in brake fluids and other industrial products.

It can be absorbed through the skin and can be an irritant to the eyes, nose and throat, according to the DEP. Anyone in contact with the material should wash thoroughly with soap and water, and rooms should be ventilated.

Authorities identified the substance through field analysis conducted by the Pennsylvania Army National Guard’s 3rd Civil Support Team, a unit based at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa., that specializes in weapons of mass destruction.

The DEP is holding FedEx responsible for what authorities are classifying as an industrial accident. Anyone who had a FedEx package delivered Friday and has noticed any odors or visible staining on the outside packaging should call FedEx at 610-317-5200 until 4 p.m. today and from 6 a.m. on Monday.

FedEx will make arrangements to have the affected package removed for disposal.

Original Story:

Suspicious packages delivered to St. Luke’s Hospital-Fountain Hill, including two that temporarily sickened six people, caused the evacuation of three buildings in the Lehigh Valley on Friday and sent FBI agents, police, firefighters and hazardous materials teams scurrying to investigate.

As midnight neared, investigators still had not identified the substance on two of the packages. Special scent-sensing equipment from the National Guard at Fort Indiantown Gap arrived late in the evening.

At 11 p.m., Bethlehem police were securing a fourth building, at 1005 Lehigh St. in the city, where at least one package was delivered Friday and some people went home not feeling well, according to Lt. Dave Strawn.

Strawn said investigators found that the substance had leaked from a box onto other boxes on a FedEx plane.

Strawn also said the FBI doesn’t believe this was a terrorist attack.

The first package, delivered by FedEx about noon to the hospital’s Estes Building, was damp and caused five people to complain of sore throats or eyes, officials said.

Officials evacuated the building, which was cleared within an hour, and FBI agents from the Allentown office arrived and took over the investigation.


August 27, 2007 - Posted by | Blogroll, Homeland security, news, personal, politics, random, religion, Terrorism, Terrorism In The U.S., Terrorism News, Uncategorized, War-On-Terror

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