I hate to always sound like the "BREAKING NEWS" reporter around here...But I thought this was very interesting... Red Cross IDs Clumps in Blood Supply -------------------- By DANIEL YEE Associated Press Writer February 12, 2003, 10:39 AM EST ATLANTA -- The mysterious white globules found in bags of donated blood in the South were identified by the American Red Cross on Tuesday as clumps of normal blood components. But why the clumps are forming in such large quantities is still a mystery. The globules were identified as platelets, white blood cells and fibrin strands. All three components are normally present in donated blood, and some clumping is normal, authorities said. But the sheer number of clumps is unusual. "The big question here is why is it happening and what's causing this," said Candice Gulden, Red Cross spokeswoman. "We don't know." Blood supplies have been under scrutiny for more than a week in Red Cross regions in Georgia, Tennessee and surrounding areas, where a total of 120 units of blood were found with white particles. At least 5,000 blood units have been put under quarantine, from Florida to parts of Illinois, Kentucky and Missouri. Previous testing indicated the particles were not infectious. Despite the identification of the particles, Red Cross officials said it is premature to let hospitals use the blood until other tests, such as those being done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are completed. The Food and Drug Administration is also investigating. The Red Cross findings are similar to test results from blood bag maker Baxter International Inc., which said the particles are natural components of blood and are not caused by the plastic bags. "Clumping of blood components is not an unusual observation in collected blood," said Deborah Spak, Baxter spokeswoman. "We're looking at all aspects of the manufacturing process. Nothing is being ruled out."