White powder found at California processing center found to be harmless

A white powder that spilled out of an envelope sent through a Comerica Bank processing center for checks in Redondo Beach, California, that touched eight employees on Friday was found to be salt, not anthrax, authorities have reported.

The tablespoon or two of salt was no thread to the employees who evacuated the building, local firefighters told Daily Breeze. The discovery of the powder prompted a response from the Redondo Beach fire and Sheriff's Department hazardous materials units, agents from the FBI, the U.S. Postal Service and the country health department.

"Powder fell out of the envelope," Richard Kuciemba, a specialist with the Redondo Beach Fire Department said, according to Daily Breeze. "He dumped it into a trash can. He noticed the rollers that open the envelopes had the white powder on them."

The employee, who did not think much of the incident, later told a supervisor, who told another supervisor. Eight employees had touched the substance by the time the fire department was called, Daily Breeze reports. While the powder was determined to be harmless salt, it was taken to a laboratory for further testing.

The letter, which contained no written threats, will be investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

"If there is a threat associated with it, it can be prosecuted as a hoax," Laura Eimiller, an FBI spokeswoman said, Daily Breeze reports. "If it's harmful material, it's a federal crime, but it can also constitute a federal crime to mail a substance represented as something harmful and include a threat."