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
National Terror Alert Resource & Information Center 2003