U.S. Postal Service States Position on Irradiating the Mail
Wednesday, December 05, 2001
Following the terrorist attacks on the American public and postal employees through the mail, Postmaster General John Potter ordered extraordinary measures to ensure the security and safety of the mail. As always, protecting the health and safety of our employees and the public is our top priority. The Postal Service will continue to take the lead and full responsibility for selecting and implementing the best technology available to carry out this task. Among the measures being implemented is a process for irradiating the mail to destroy the presence of any biohazardous material. We are currently leasing irradiation facilities in Ohio and New Jersey to decontaminate mail. We have issued contracts for future purchases of irradiation equipment and these contracts remain in place. We have said all along that irradiation will be used on targeted mail, not all mail, and that has not changed. Recognizing the extraordinary expense these national security measures will take, the Postmaster General has testified before the Senate that the Postal Service would need $1.1 billion through next June to implement full safety and security measures, including protective equipment for employees, detection and filtering equipment to be placed at our mail processing equipment, and irradiation and mail decontamination equipment. We continue to utilize a variety of technologies and will use all methods that prove efficacious, safe, cost-effective, and are able to be integrated into our mail processing system. We are fully committed to detecting and removing biohazards from the mail. The safety of our employees and the public is paramount and we will do whatever it takes to ensure the security of the mail.