Phosphoric acid sickens 2 at JFK airport post office

Sunday, August 11, 2013 - 3:30pm

Two workers at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport post office were exposed to phosphoric acid Sunday from a package that originated from China, a law enforcement official said.

The package was identified after workers smelled an odor emanating from it, the official said.

A hazardous response team from the FBI responded to the airport "out of an abundance of caution," said Peter Donald, a spokesman for the FBI in New York.

The product was identified as organophosphate and secured by Port Authority police. The package was contained to the post office, and airport operations were not affected, the official said.

Another law enforcement official said the substance "appears to be a skin cleanser."

The two workers -- identified by the second official as Customs and Border Protection employees -- declined medical attention.

Phosphoric acid is a colorless liquid with a syrupy consistency used as an acidifying agent to give colas their flavor.


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