SCIENCE

FBI: Packages sent to Oregon sheriffs were not toxic

Jul 28, 2015, 1:42 PM

n On Monday, July 27, 2015, Hermiston firefighters in hazmat suits carry what was reported as a sus...

On Monday, July 27, 2015, Hermiston firefighters in hazmat suits carry what was reported as a suspicious letter from a car at the Umatilla County Sheriff's Office, in Pendleton. Ore. The FBI says no toxic substances have been found in letters sent to about 20 Oregon sheriffs or their offices. The FBI said Tuesday that none of the envelopes contained a visible powder, contradicting earlier reports. Sheriffs around the state have reported receiving envelopes with rambling, incoherent messages. /East Oregonian via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT (REV-SHARE)n

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SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The FBI said Tuesday that no toxic substances have been found in letters sent to about 20 Oregon sheriffs or their offices.

Sheriffs around the state reported receiving the envelopes containing rambling, incoherent messages Monday. Investigators initially said some of the packages contained an unknown substance, but the FBI said Tuesday that none had a visible powder.

Grant County Sheriff Glenn Palmer said he opened a letter at his office in Canyon City and felt a burning sensation in his face and arms, a metallic taste in his mouth, and numbness and tingling in his lips. Palmer said he secured the letter in an evidence bag and had his wife take him to a hospital.

He was held for observation, but doctors didn’t determine a cause for his symptoms, Palmer said. He was back at work Tuesday.

He said he couldn’t decipher meaning from the letter.

“I didn’t read that far into depth,” Palmer told The Associated Press. “It was some scribblings and ramblings. I couldn’t tell you what the context of it was.”

Grant is one of Oregon’s smallest counties, home to about 7,300 people in rural eastern Oregon.

Law enforcement officials were collecting the letters and taking them to the FBI or the Oregon State Public Health Laboratory, the FBI said.

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FBI: Packages sent to Oregon sheriffs were not toxic