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PIA Posts Printer Resource Guide for Anthrax

Press release from the issuing company

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA (October 30, 2001) – Printing Industries of America (PIA), Incorporated, and the Graphic Arts Technical Foundation (GATF) are responding to public and graphic arts industry concerns about the innocuous spread of harmful bacterial agents by posting the Anthrax Resource Guide for Printers on the Graphic Arts Information Network, www.gain.net. Visiting the Human Relations and The Industry Responds to September 11th toolbars accesses the Guide, as well as other helpful advisories. Recent incidents involving the presence of the deadly anthrax bacteria in white powdery substances within mailed letters raised questions about the appearance of corn starch spray powder on printed products. Corn starch, or talcum spray powder is commonly used in the printing process for drying purposes. The powder is applied between printed sheets to prevent them from sticking to one another until the ink dries. Trace amounts of this corn starch or talcum powder can appear on some printed materials even after delivery to customers. Because of these questions, PIA and GATF are providing the Anthrax Resource Guide for Printers made available by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Most importantly, the guide includes the Spray Powder and Printed Matter question and answer sheet and the OSHA Recommendations for Handling Suspicious Letters. Distributed internally were the Centers for Disease Control’s Guidelines for State Health Departments, revised on October 14 and in it were directions for handling suspicious letters and packages. PIA and GATF are advising people that if they suspect a powdery substance on printed materials to be other than the harmless corn starch spray powders to contact their local authorities.

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