JFK airport customs agents sickened after opening package

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posted on Aug, 11 2013 @ 04:59 PM
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JFK airport customs agents sickened after opening package


www.washing tontimes.com

The FBI was called in to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport after at least two customs agents were sickened on Sunday after opening a package at a postal processing facility, ABC News Radio reported.

Port Authority officials say the air tested positive for nerve gas, but that does not necessarily prove that some sort of attack was intended, ABC News said. The chemical found is more likely a standard-use chemical that shouldn’t have been in the mail like a solvent or degreaser.

(visit the link for the full news article)


Related News Links:
abclocal.go.com

New York post

edit on 11-8-2013 by liveandlearn because: edit for additonal link

edit on 11-8-2013 by liveandlearn because: (no reason given)




posted on Aug, 11 2013 @ 04:59 PM
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This happened in the postal processing area From the abc source they say it was contained in a beauty supply container yet intial tests are positive for nerve gas.

Haven't heard this on News. Kinda thought they would pounce on it with the terror treat. Considering the supposed terror threats, they actually seem to be going to lengths to make it look like nothing.

Bares watching I think.

www.washing tontimes.com
(visit the link for the full news article)
edit on 11-8-2013 by liveandlearn because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 11 2013 @ 05:05 PM
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If the bears are watching its gotta be getting serious, ill keep my eyes peeled in case pigs fly or the cows come home.



posted on Aug, 11 2013 @ 05:11 PM
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"Nerve gas" is a general term, not an actual chemical.

Nerve agents are organophosphates (probably misspelled that word) and organophosphates are used in many products for uses other than killing people.

I think the port is correct when they say it was likely just solvent or industrial chemical that wasn't supposed to be shipped through the mail.



posted on Aug, 11 2013 @ 05:16 PM
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Your probably right. Below was from the NYpost


It was unclear why several tests at the scene produced consistent results indicating the presence of the highly lethal nerve agent VX, which kills through skin contact or inhalation and is used in weapons of mass destruction.



posted on Aug, 11 2013 @ 05:17 PM
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reply to post by newpopeislast
 


Thanks for the heads up



posted on Aug, 11 2013 @ 05:20 PM
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Originally posted by liveandlearn
Your probably right. Below was from the NYpost


It was unclear why several tests at the scene produced consistent results indicating the presence of the highly lethal nerve agent VX, which kills through skin contact or inhalation and is used in weapons of mass destruction.


Hmm, I'm confused.
If several tests returned positive for VX, than what is unclear?



posted on Aug, 11 2013 @ 05:23 PM
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reply to post by zilebeliveunknown
 


Great question

Whats in VX and the Chemical they tested that are in common?



posted on Aug, 11 2013 @ 05:28 PM
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reply to post by SLAYER69
 

Here is from wikipedia Still doesn't explain why it tested positive.


is an extremely toxic substance that has no known uses except in chemical warfare as a nerve agent. As a chemical weapon, it is classified as a weapon of mass destruction by the United Nations in UN Resolution 687. The production and stockpiling of VX was outlawed by the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993. The VX nerve agent is the best-known of the V-series of nerve agents and is considered an area denial weapon due to its physical properties.



With its high viscosity and low volatility, VX has the texture and feel of motor oil. This makes it especially dangerous, as it has a high persistence in the environment. It is odorless and tasteless, and can be distributed as a liquid, both pure and as a mixture with a polymer in the form of thickened agent, or as an aerosol.

VX is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, i.e. it works by blocking the function of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase. Normally, an electric nerve pulse would cause the release of acetylcholine over a synapse that would stimulate muscle contraction. The acetylcholine is then broken down to non-reactive substances (acetic acid and choline) by the acetylcholinesterase enzyme. If more muscle tension is needed the nerve must release more acetylcholine. VX blocks the action of acetylcholinesterase, thus resulting in initial violent contractions, followed by sustained supercontraction restricted to the subjunctional endplate sarcoplasm and prolonged depolarizing neuromuscular blockade, the latter resulting in flaccid paralysis of all the muscles in the body. Sustained paralysis of the diaphragm muscle causes death by asphyxiation.

wiki

Guess I should have posted from the NYTimes article but all other outlets were refraining from using the word so I didn't want to sensationalize.



edit on 11-8-2013 by liveandlearn because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 11 2013 @ 05:50 PM
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reply to post by James1982
 


There's certain classes of products that must use land only methods to ship.
Certain beauty supplies, cleaning supplies, canned air must travel by carriers such as UPS ground.

Somebody was likely cutting corners, was unaware or didn't care.



posted on Aug, 11 2013 @ 06:23 PM
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Originally posted by DontTreadOnMe
reply to post by James1982
 


There's certain classes of products that must use land only methods to ship.
Certain beauty supplies, cleaning supplies, canned air must travel by carriers such as UPS ground.

Somebody was likely cutting corners, was unaware or didn't care.


Indeed, I would think whoever shipped that stuff out will be in a decent amount of trouble with their employer.

I worked as a shipping and receiving clerk for several years at different companies and I've seen some shady stuff, usually done by the higher ups at the company. Overnighting full pressure vessels, various chemicals without proper MSDS, etc. Any experienced shipping and receiving guy would likely know not to do these things, but when an ignorant manager is getting yelled at by a customer about late product they tend to bend and break quite a few rules and laws to make them happy.

To the previous poster who showed a quote about VX coming up in tests, my apologies, I didn't see that in the article. I skimmed it quickly instead of reading it thoroughly, something I usually get upset at others for doing, shame on me. Anyway, I'm no expert so I have no idea how their detection methods work and if it's possible to have false positives and that sort of thing. Very odd indeed if it was actually VX, I'll have to do some research into this.

EDIT:

So I guess the reason I didn't see the mention of actual VX was because that was in a link added later, not the first one I read.

I'm a little curious if the "authorities" actually stated that VX came up in their tests. What I mean is that someone (at the newspaper or somewhere else) could have heard "nerve gas" and then just assumed they meant VX and ran with it.

There are a few very odd things I don't understand about the most recent link posted:

First of all, they said it turned out to be regular nail polish remover. Nail polish remover is usually just acetone. I believe there are some acetone free removers available (or maybe just lower acetone content? I'm not a nail painting type of guy so I don't know) but anything acetone free would have a LESS offensive chemical, not a more offensive one.

So I think it's safe to say, if it WAS nail polish remover, acetone is the likely culprit for this scare.

But, that doesn't add up for several reasons. Acetone has a VERY strong odor. VX is odorless. The fact there was such a strong smell should have immediately indicated that it was NOT VX.

Not only is the odor of acetone strong, it's also very easy to recognize. Really, nobody at that post office location has ever smelled acetone before? Never had a sister/mom/friend/cousin/etc that was removing nail polish around them?

Then we get onto the effects. The chemical supposedly made the workers sick. I've worked with large volumes of acetone for cleaning purposes, using over a liter of acetone in a few hours, which means more acetone vapor in the air than there would possibly be from a leaky or broken bottle. I've never felt the slightest effects. Millions of little girls all over the place are using this stuff in their rooms or whatever, again no massive outbreak of sick 13 year old girls from acetone exposure.

This leaves be baffled. I'm not trying to imply any sort of conspiracy, but the "facts" as reported do not add up. Most likely just stupid and/or lazy reporters and lazy post office workers who lied about feeling ill to get some time off. But maybe not.

edit on 11-8-2013 by James1982 because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 11 2013 @ 08:26 PM
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I'm no chemical expert but I can say if it was nail polish remover, the consentrated fumes from broken bottles in a box WILL make me very sick. My wife and daughters had to stop using it in the house because the fumes made me want to lose my lunch.

I think they need to look at their detection equipment and have it verified for what it is really picking up on. When was the last time their equipment was certified or does it have to be. Plus, the equipment is only as good as the person using it. Who knows if a chemical reaction was going on in the box from the broken bottles, some spills can have nasty results.



posted on Aug, 12 2013 @ 06:39 AM
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Originally posted by Grayarea
I'm no chemical expert but I can say if it was nail polish remover, the consentrated fumes from broken bottles in a box WILL make me very sick. My wife and daughters had to stop using it in the house because the fumes made me want to lose my lunch.

I think they need to look at their detection equipment and have it verified for what it is really picking up on. When was the last time their equipment was certified or does it have to be. Plus, the equipment is only as good as the person using it. Who knows if a chemical reaction was going on in the box from the broken bottles, some spills can have nasty results.


I use acetone in the range of litres on a daily basis as part of my work. It doesn't make you sick in the sense that it doesn't make you feel nauseous, but if you inhale a lot of it, it may make you feel faint and short of breath. Looking at one of the supplementary articles, this appears to be what they meant by 'sick' in this article (i.e. they were in respiratory distress).

It is very, very odd that their test came up with VX when it was (allegedly) acetone from nail polish remover. VX and acetone do not share any structural or chemical properties that would make them hard to distinguish between, even with a very basic test.

The previous poster is right that acetone has a very distinctive odor, but it's not distinctive in the same way that, say, garlic might be. To the untrained nose, it just smells chemicall-y and I would honestly not be surprised by the discovery that your typical lay person could not specifically identify it (and I'd be even less surprised to find that they don't know that VX has no detectable smell). Of course, even if they did identify the smell as acetone, that's not to say that someone wasn't trying to transport VX by dissolving it into bottles of acetone (it would be very easy to recover and though I don't know the solubility exactly, it's highly probable it would go into solution). Though I am very confused by how their initial tests came up positive for VX, given that they did come up positive, the presence of a strong acetone odor wouldn't and shouldn't matter.

I tried to look into what types of equipment or methodology postage facilities and airports use for chemical tests, but my searches are proving fruitless. I suspect they use some sort of small mass spec, but I could be wrong. In any case, very curious. I wonder if maybe the VX result is fabrication on the behalf of the media? It wasn't until after the initial article came out that journalists switched from saying nerve gas to nerve agent to VX, which makes me think that this is all a product of Chinese whispers.



posted on Aug, 12 2013 @ 05:08 PM
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reply to post by hypervalentiodine
 


Good point on the VX possibly being dissolved in the acetone. As well as it being possible that lay persons wouldn't know the smell, I sometimes forget that not all people have experience with things like chemicals, heavy machinery, explosives, etc


As far as the VX dissolved in the acetone thing, could that possibly be a way to deliver the VX?

VX is oily from what I hear, and needs to be aerosolized in order to be dispersed over wide areas. Acetone evaporates and vaporizes incredibly quickly, possibly taking VX particles up into the air with it? Or maybe just evaporating and leaving behind a VX residue. Not sure how that stuff works.

Something somewhat scary I hadn't considered before....



posted on Aug, 12 2013 @ 11:17 PM
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Originally posted by liveandlearn

This happened in the postal processing area From the abc source they say it was contained in a beauty supply container yet intial tests are positive for nerve gas.

Haven't heard this on News. Kinda thought they would pounce on it with the terror treat. Considering the supposed terror threats, they actually seem to be going to lengths to make it look like nothing.

Bares watching I think.

www.washing tontimes.com
(visit the link for the full news article)
edit on 11-8-2013 by liveandlearn because: (no reason given)



Beauty supplies that are so caustic they cause agents to fall ill...



posted on Aug, 12 2013 @ 11:36 PM
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Originally posted by James1982
reply to post by hypervalentiodine
 


Good point on the VX possibly being dissolved in the acetone. As well as it being possible that lay persons wouldn't know the smell, I sometimes forget that not all people have experience with things like chemicals, heavy machinery, explosives, etc


As far as the VX dissolved in the acetone thing, could that possibly be a way to deliver the VX?

VX is oily from what I hear, and needs to be aerosolized in order to be dispersed over wide areas. Acetone evaporates and vaporizes incredibly quickly, possibly taking VX particles up into the air with it? Or maybe just evaporating and leaving behind a VX residue. Not sure how that stuff works.

Something somewhat scary I hadn't considered before....




If you were going to go to the lengths of dispersing VX over large areas, my guess would be that you would want it undetectable for as long as possible to create the most damage. Though acetone is very volatile and evaporates quite quickly, I think that if you used it as a dispersion medium, people would still notice the smell within a very short period of time.

On the other hand - and ignoring the difficulty of obtaining VX in the first place - you could very easily make a large quantity of dilute solutions in acetone and transport it to where you plan on using it that way. You would recover the pure VX by evaporation and then formulate it as an aerosol afterwards. VX is not volatile and as far as I know, in combination with acetone it does not make azeotropes; you would therefore not get any VX in the acetone as the acetone vaporizes in much the same way that you wouldn't see salt evaporate when you boil sea water.

That all being said, I do not think that is what happened here and the above situation is incredibly unlikely (or at least unlikely to succeed) due to the difficulty of obtaining or creating VX in addition to the fact that VX should be very easy to detect (even in trace amounts) by simple, semi-analytical methods.

The story in the OP still has me at a loss.
edit on 12-8-2013 by hypervalentiodine because: (no reason given)





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