Some workers in a Senate office building were told to leave their offices today after tests indicated the presence of a hazardous substance. Sources said one test indicated the presence of ricin, a deadly poison derived from castor beans.
The U.S. Capitol Police said a suspicious powder substance was found at 3 p.m. in a room in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, located northeast of the Capitol. An initial field test found nothing hazardous, but a subsequent lab test by the Capitol Police indicated the presence of a hazardous material, said Sgt. Contricia Sellars-Ford.
Sellars-Ford did not specify what hazardous material was detected, but said the Capitol Police were sending the substance out for further analysis.
Two official sources told ABCNEWS that one of the tests was positive for ricin.
Around 7:20 p.m. a message on the Senate's internal telephone alert system instructed employees in several offices on the south side of the building's fourth floor to report to a large conference room. Other employees were warned to stay away from the south side of the fourth floor.
Emergency workers cordoned off the affected area with police "hazardous" tape and set up a decontamination tent.