Investigation of a Ricin-Containing Envelope

2003 | October 15, 2003

On October 15, 2003, an envelope with a threatening note and a sealed container was processed at a mail processing and distribution facility in Greenville, South Carolina.

The note threatened to poison water supplies if demands were not met.

On October 21, laboratory testing at CDC confirmed that ricin was present in the container.

castor bean (ricinus communis)

To assess the human health effects related to possible ricin exposure, a CDC medical toxicologist and state and local health department epidemiologists interviewed all 36 workers at the postal facility to identify ricin-related illnesses. CDC also conducted environmental assessment and sampling at the postal facility, consisting of 70 wipe samples and five surface dust samples.