Suspicious powder mailed to the Iowa House is not hazardous - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Fireman says powder was common antacid

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Courtesy Erin Moynihan Courtesy Erin Moynihan
DES MOINES (KWWL) -

Authorities in Des Moines are investigating a threatening letter and a suspicious white powder at the Iowa House Tuesday. Initial tests indicate the powder isn't hazardous, but the Statehouse remains on lockdown while more tests are conducted.

The House debate was halted after a lawmaker opened an envelope containing the white substance around 3:45 p.m. Tuesday.

Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad (D- Des Moines) was taken to a vestibule room off of the House chamber, and inspectors were summoned to the chamber to examine the substance.

The debate was suspended while that inspection was being done.

Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen says key lawmakers checked with the Iowa Highway Patrol about how to handle the situation and were told there was no reason to evacuate the chamber.

Around 5:30 p.m., two hazardous material workers wearing protective suits collected samples from the House chamber.

The house has since reopened debate.

Leaders of both parties in the statehouse now say the want a review of mail-handling and other security procedures.

A fireman says the powder turned out to be calcium carbonate -- which is a common antacid used to treat indigestion.

 

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