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Can The Spread Of Biological Agents Be Prevented?

  • The Postal Service is also taking a series of steps to protect its workers throughout the country.  The Postal Service installed special equipment at 250 to 300 mail processing centers throughout the country to irradiate mail and kill anthrax spores and other dangerous bacteria.
  • More than 90% of all mail, such as catalogs and advertising, is considered relatively safe from tampering because it is produced by printing plants under comparatively tight security.
  • This mail is presorted by the mailers, reducing the amount of processing required by the Postal Service. Postal officials believe it does not need to be irradiated.
  • The equipment produces radiation that kills any bacteria inside an envelope or on its surface.  Electron-beam, or e-beam, radiation is the same process used to irradiate food and medical equipment to kill harmful germs. Beams of electrons are fired at ultra-high speeds to break up the bacteria's DNA, killing the germs. 


National Terror Alert Resource & Information Center 2003

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