postal irradiation

B. J. Tindall bti at DSMZ.DE
Thu Nov 15 07:54:38 CST 2001

The intention to irradiate items in the post is a direct response to
letters etc. containing anthrax spores being sent through the post and
being treated as "normal" mail. It may sound rather "silly" but these
packages are not labelled "contains infectious material" - i.e. there is no
information on the content. There are numerous cases where biological
material is sent via the post/by carrier and IS labelled "biological
material" - the carrier and recipients are warned. The danger is not so
much from properly labelled packages, but from letters/packages which are
NOT labelled. If a package is clearly labelled "biological material" (DNA
sample, or museum specimen) then any suspicious package can be examined by
the appropriate authorities without it being irradiated.
Of course to get such a system to work then scientists sending material
which should not be irradiated must stick to the rules and properly label
letters/packages containing biological material. In the case of most of the
carriers (FedEx, UPS etc.) the packages are picked up and the person
sending the package can also be easily identified. Or am I being too
Unfortunately undeveloped films looks like a rather different problem
because almost anyone can send a film in the post.

* Dr.B.J.Tindall      E-MAIL bti at                           *
* DSMZ-Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH *
* Mascheroder Weg 1b, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany                *
* Tel.: ++ 531 2616 0 (general)                                    *
* Tel.: ++ 531 2616 224 (direct)                                   *
* Fax:  ++ 531 2616 418                                            *
* Fax:  ++ 531 2616 491 (ISDN)                                     *
*                                                                  *
* Homepage:                          *
* E-MAIL: help at (general enquiries)                         *
*         sales at (sales)                                    *

More information about the Taxacom mailing list