Hazardous powder found in Senate building

Workers in a US Senate office building were told to leave their offices today after tests indicated the presence of a hazardous substance, probably the deadly poison ricin.

Police said a suspicious white, powdery, substance was found at 15:00 local time in the post room of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, located northeast of the Capitol.

The substance – a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) – is being tested at the Army research laboratory at Fort Detrick, Maryland.

The results are due back on Tuesday.

There is no known antidote for ricin poisoning. A minuscule amount of the poison – derived from castor beans – is enough to kill an adult.