The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

August 6, 2013

Mail at bank tests positive for toxic substance


Associated Press

— BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — State and federal officials are investigating after an envelope that tested positive for a toxic substance was found in a Birmingham bank branch.

Birmingham police and fire officials, along with the FBI, responded to reports of a hazardous materials situation at the Wells Fargo branch around 5:30 p.m. Monday.

WBRC-TV reports that the bank had received an envelope with threats written on it. Officials say it tested positive for botulinum, which can cause botulism.

Birmingham fire Capt. Kenneth Hatcher tells The Birmingham News that weak traces of botulism were found, and people who came in contact with the envelope were decontaminated as a precaution.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes botulism as a paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin. Symptoms in adults range from blurred vision to muscle weakness.