FEMA: Hundreds of emergency responders exposed to deadly toxin
CLEVELAND — The Federal Emergency Management Agency has acknowledged that hundreds of Ohio emergency responders were exposed to a potentially fatal toxin while training at a FEMA facility in Alabama.
The federal agency released a statement Wednesday saying that they have received no reports of illness as a result of the ricin exposure.
Ricin is a poison found naturally in castor beans that kills cells by preventing them from creating protein. Exposure to the toxin can lead to death.
Staff at the FEMA facility mistakenly purchased high-toxicity ricin that was used in nine training sessions beginning in 2011.
FEMA officials say 121 Ohio public safety agencies and organizations have sent approximately 400 people to train at the facility in question since that time. Not all were exposed to the ricin.