Apr 30, 2013
From staff reports
After further testing at a Department of Health lab in Columbus, the Ohio University Police Department received final confirmation on April 29 that the suspicious substance observed in the envelope delivered to Legal Affairs on April 25 was not known to be harmful.
The letter was sent from a prison in West Virginia and contained application and background materials related to an applicant at the University. Authorities in West Virginia interviewed the subject who mailed the package and determined that he had used toothpaste to seal the envelope.
OUPD investigators concluded that as the toothpaste dried while in transit, it began flaking and would have appeared powdery when the letter was subsequently opened. Their investigation found that sealing envelopes with toothpaste is a common practice among prison inmates.
There is no additional action needed for faculty, staff, and students.