A letter mailed to President Barack Obama on Tuesday tested positive for the deadly poison ricin, the NY Post reports. On Monday a letter was mailed to the office of a Mississippi senator that also tested positive for ricin.
Ricin has been used in assassinations in the past. A tiny amount, the equivalent of a few grains of salt, can kill a man.
Ricin is poisonous if inhaled. It kills by binding to proteins and preventing protein synthesis in humans. Proteins are vital to the human body. Proteins carry out thousands of chemical reactions within cells that help us to move around, digest food, and protects us from virus and bacteria. Without proteins, death occurs within 3-5 days.
From The NY Post:
The Secret Service said a letter containing a suspicious substance was addressed to Obama but did not confirm it was ricin. The second letter was undergoing testing and was also intercepted before it reached its intended target, the agency said.
Yesterday, an envelope containing ricin was sent to the office of Republican Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi — and authorities last night said they have identified a suspect in the case, although he did not appear to be in custody.
The letter was intercepted by an off-site mail-screening facility in DC yesterday afternoon and later was sent to a testing facility in Maryland.