Original news stories were claiming the stuff was Tellurium - an element. Now tonight's news is claiming they don't know what it is, but its not dangerous.
Q: How do you get a very specific elemental identification on the preliminary story, then back off on later stories?
I took enough chemistry in college, and played with the mass spectrometer enough to know that a sample that ID's itself as as Tellurium is not likely to be "mistaken" for something else. The graph of a sample that consists of a single element will have one sharp spike (or spikes for multiple isotopes) and that's it. There's nothing else there. Even an inept chemist won't mistake spikes in the range of common household organics (sugar, Sweet N' Low, arsenic based poisons, etc) because the atomic weights of the stuff that comprises them is SOOOOO far away from that of Tellurium. Tellurium is relatively heavy stuff -- right next to Tin and Antimony.
Something stinks here.
There's no way the original diagnosis of Tellurium was made without the assistance of a mass spectrometer at one of the local universities. Nobody looks at random powdery shit and declares "Hey, I think this is Tellurium!".
a) Journalists are too stupid to know what Tellurium is and wouldn't have a clue as to what a mass spectrometer is.
b) Cops are too stupid to know what Tellurium is, but might know what the spectrometer is.
Some chemist, somewhere in Palm Beach county, made that original diagnosis the media ran with, and if it was bogus I want to hear from that guy exactly how he could have fucked up something as simple as Tellurium versus "other stuff" analysis.