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Deadly poison ricin sent in post to US Senator

The letter addressed to a Senator from Mississippi was intercepted before it could be delivered to him.

A police hazardous materials vehicle outside the mail processing facility for the US Congress on Tuesday night
A police hazardous materials vehicle outside the mail processing facility for the US Congress on Tuesday night
Image: AP Photo/Molly Riley

A LETTER SENT to a US Senator has tested positive for a poison believed to be ricin.

The envelope addressed to Republican Senator for Mississippi Roger Wicker was intercepted before it could be delivered to his office on Capitol Hill.

The enveloped was tested three times, with each test confirming the presence of the deadly poison.

CNN reported that there was nothing outwardly suspicious on the envelope, which did not have a return address.

US Capitol Police said the ‘white granular substance’ found in the envelope is being forwarded to an accedited laboratory for further analysis following the initial confirmation.

Post to US politicians in the Senate and Congress is initially brought to an off-site facility where it is screened before being delivered, which is where the envelope was found.

Exposure to even a tiny pinprick-sized amount of ricin can prove deadly, with most victims dying between 36 and 72 hours after contact. There is no known antidote.

One of the most well-known cases involving ricin happened in London in 1978 when a Bulgarian dissident was assassinated by a poison dart filled with ricin fired from an umbrella as he waited at a bus stop. He died four days later.

Read: Names of Boston bombing victims emerge as Obama plans sombre visit >

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