Anthrax Testing and the United States Postal Service

By: April Douglas- Eyewitness News
By: April Douglas- Eyewitness News

10/5/06

It has been five years since a series of deadly anthrax attacks raised fears about the safety of our mail. Since then the United States Postal Service has enhanced its ability to test for anthrax.

Five years ago tainted mail showed up first in Florida, followed by Washington, New York, Connecticut and New Jersey.

Today the postal service has installed testing devices for anthrax across the nation. More than a thousand biological detectors are in place sniffing mail at 271 processing plants across the country.

First class mail is run through the machine and checked for anthrax using an air sample. Postal inspectors say with the machine it eases worker and customer fears.

Postal Inspector Alexandra Papageorge says if anthrax is detected they can narrow down when the tainted piece of mail went through the biological detector.

If that were to happen an alarm will sound and postal workers are trained to respond to a possible threat.

Tallahassee, Panama City and Pensacola are all equipped with the biological detectors. A second version for larger pieces of mail will be deployed next year.


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