UN panel: Substance found at weapons inspection office 'non-hazardous'

A UN-appointed panel of experts found that a mysterious substance that turned up in the UN weapons inspection office and was initially suspected to be a chemical warfare agent was "non-hazardous," the UN said Tuesday. The material was found Aug. 24 at the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, or UNMOVIC, office with an inventory number that was later matched to records indicating it could be phosgene, a chemical substance used extensively in World War I as a choking agent. The discovery prompted the evacuation of the office while hazardous materials experts removed the substance and sent it to a laboratory for testing. UN officials and police said in early September it appeared to be a nontoxic commercial solvent.