Jeffords staff affected by ricin scare

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(Host) About a dozen people who work for Vermont Senator James Jeffords were decontaminated after the poison ricin was found near their Washington offices.

On Monday afternoon, an envelope containing a suspicious powder was discovered in the offices of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who works next door to Jeffords. Tests later identified the substance as ricin.

In a statement on the Senate floor, Jeffords said his staff employees were first quarantined and then went through a decontamination procedure.

(Jeffords) “They didn’t get home until after two in the morning. I would like to say a special thank you to them. Thankfully, everyone is feeling fine and they don’t appear to have any ill effects. We shouldn’t have to go through this type of episode as we go about our business everyday. But unfortunately, these are the times we are living in.”

(Host) This is the second time that the staff members had to evacuate their offices. In October, 2001 Jeffords’ employees were among those who had to take antibiotics after anthrax was found in the office building.

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