updated 3/14/2007 9:10:54 PM ET 2007-03-15T01:10:54

The campaign headquarters of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards was evacuated Wednesday after a staff member opened a letter containing white powder, a campaign official said.

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"The health and safety of our staff and volunteers is obviously our paramount concern, so we contacted the authorities," said Jonathan Prince, deputy campaign manager. "The authorities have asked us to evacuate while they run tests on the substance, and we have done so."

Chapel Hill police spokeswoman Jane Cousins said the female campaign worker who opened the legal-sized envelope containing the powder has been interviewed by health officials and has shown no health problems.

Police contacted the regional hazardous materials response team, the FBI and the fire department, Cousins said. Hazardous materials experts were testing the substance Wednesday, she said.

Campaign spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield declined to provide other details about the letter.

Campaign employees are working from home until investigators reopen the headquarters, and officials were unsure about when that would be, Bedingfield said.

White powder in letters has been associated with anthrax after an attack in 2001 killed five people and sickened 17. The substance was mailed to lawmakers on Capitol Hill and members of the news media in New York and Florida just weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

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