Henry Golemme opened his mailbox to get the newspaper and found a white powdery substance inside.
“I looked at it and thought it was paint so I did touch it, and I shouldn’t have,” said Golemme, who lives on Forest Street.
He didn’t know what the substance was so he immediately called police Sunday morning.
“With everything that goes on these days you can’t take a chance,” Golemme said. “I just wanted to be safe for myself, my wife and the neighbors.”
The police department and fire department couldn’t identify the substance so they classified it as a hazardous material and summoned the state hazardous materials team.
After several tests it was determined the substance was not hazardous and appeared to be the same white powdery substance found in a fire extinguisher.
The substance was found on two other mailboxes in the area.
No one was evacuated during the investigation, but nearby roads were closed.
Golemme praised the work of emergency crews and said the fire department made sure he was not harmed by the substance.
The Rockland Police Department has started a criminal investigation into the incident.