DEVELOPING STORY: Vials of dangerous chemicals found by weapons inspectors in Iraq more than a decade ago were discovered Thursday in a United Nations office building near the world body's headquarters in the heart of New York City.
No evacuations were ordered, and there was no immediate danger to the public, a U.N. spokesman said.
Hazardous materials personnel and the FBI were reported at the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission offices at 48th Street and 1st Avenue in Manhattan. The commission's offices are on the building's third and sixth floors.
The material was phosgene, a chemical warfare agent, U.N. spokeswoman Marie Okabe told a hastily gathered news conference.
The inspections unit said in a statement that the chemicals had been found last Friday as weapons inspectors were closing their offices, said Ewen Buchanan, a spokesman for the inspectors.
Phosgene was used during World War I as a choking agent, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
The U.N. issued the following statement on the incident:
"On Friday 24th August 2007 in archiving UNSCOM files, UNMOVI staff discovered two small plastic packages with metal and glass containers (ranging in size from small vials to tubes the length of a pen) with unknown liquid substances. The archives are located at the UNMOVIC headquarters, 866 East 48th Street, 3rd and 6th floors.