3 of 4 suspicious envelopes test negative for toxins

Kristin Bartlett, communications manager at the Juneau School District, peeks into the taped off human resources office at the Juneau School District building on Thursday. Officials are testing a white powder substance discovered in a suspicious envelope received there on Wednesday.

Three of the four envelopes containing an unknown white powder substance that were sent to four different school districts in Alaska this week did not test positive for any hazardous toxins, according to an official with an Anchorage laboratory.


The fourth envelope that was addressed to the Juneau school district had not been tested or analyzed yet, the official said.

“We’ve completed analysis on three of the four envelopes, and I’m happy to report that there is nothing bad in anyone of those,” Dr. Bernd Jilly, the chief of Alaska State Public Health Laboratories, said in a phone interview Thursday from Anchorage.

Jilly could not say what exactly they were testing for since that is classified information, but that they test for a variety of infectious agents and chemical agents. He did confirm that they tested negative for anthrax.

“The good news is so far there are no hazardous materials in any one of those,” he said.

Jilly said the lab tests about six to 12 different events such as this annually.

The FBI is heading the investigation into the suspicious letters, which were sent to Tanana School District west of Fairbanks, Southeast Island School District in Thorne Bay on Prince of Wales Island and the Chugach School District in Anchorage and Juneau School District. Juneau and Tanana both received the letters on Wednesday.

Phone calls to an FBI spokesman went unreturned late Thursday afternoon.


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