Beauty package leaves two ill at JFK airport

NEW YORK CITY - Two customs inspectors at New York's John F. Kennedy airport fell ill Sunday after handling what turned out to be a box of beauty supplies, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said.

Initial reports in local media suggested the pair might have been the victims of a nerve gas known as VX.

But FBI spokesman Peter Donald said: "The package in question was determined to be beauty supplies and nothing further."

The incident was nevertheless worrying enough to prompt the FBI to dispatch a hazardous response team to a processing centre at the airport where a huge volume of foreign mail enters the United States.

Local news channel WNBC said earlier that the two customs inspectors had recovered from their nausea and declined further medical help.

Citing a law enforcement official, it said the package may have originated in China.

The incident - which had no impact on JFK's passenger terminals or flight operations - came after a week of heightened concern in the United States over a potential terrorist attack overseas.