The flight crew of an Alaska Airlines flight departing Seattle, Washington ,and headed to Santa Ana, California, this week notified authorities of an unknown white powder in the back lavatory that turned out to be toilet paper.
After the 1,000-mile flight landed, law enforcement officers, fire department crews and hazardous materials experts circled the plane after it touched down at John Wayne Airport on April 22 at 4 p.m., KTVU reports.
The 151 passengers and six crew members deplaned as authorities climbed aboard. Members of the county’s sheriff department along with members of the Orange County Fire Authority tested the suspicious substance.
Upon further investigation, Capt. Greg McKeown, the fire department’s spokesperson, told KTVU that the white dust was determined to be a “cellulose paper material” or, in simpler terms, what appeared to be toilet paper.
After the powder was determined to be nonhazardous, the aircraft went back into service.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anthrax is caused by Bacillus anthracis, a spore-forming bacterium. Anthrax was used as a weapon in 2001 as it was deliberately spread through the postal system, causing 22 cases of anthrax infection.
Anthrax is classified as a category A bioterrorism agent that may pose the greatest possible threat for a bad effect on public health, needs a great deal of planning to protect the public’s health and may spread across a large area or require public awareness.