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RE: [AV Media Matters] New Test Results
I live in NJ and my mail goes through the same distribution center that
process the famous anthrax letters ( by the way, the distribution center
still closed. They haven't figure out how to decontaminate it. Mail is
currently being distributed through a "temporary" distribution center)
There was huge backlog of mail ( over 800,00 pieces) that were in the
building when the anthrax was discovered that was eventually delivered
being decontaminated by an "Irradiation" process. Judging by the
mail I received ( sealed in plastic bags with warnings printed on it) I
believe they are using some kind of microwave radiation which can
fair amount of heat. All the envelopes had a "toasted" look to them and
were very brittle. Any plastic showed signs of severe heat stress. I
received replacement credit cards that were severely discolored, and
unusable. The raised numbers and letters had melted back into the flat
I also work at ABC-TV in NYC and we had one incident of anthrax
contamination here when the child of a person working in the News dept.
developed a case of cutaneous anthrax ( curiously, the source was never
found. no threatening letters were ever sent here) As a result, all
incoming mail is now irradiated. And again, all the mail has a toasted
look. Any data CD's or floppies show signs of severe heat stress.
believe they are using microwave radiation not alpha, beta or gamma type
This may not be very scientific but I though it would be of interest.
> Results we reported for CD discs were based on tests
> conducted in close
> coordination with the USPS and with one of the companies that
> mail under contract to the USPS. Electron beam energy and dose were
> comparable to those now in use for that purpose.
> Information from Mr. Brothers is somewhat confusing. It seems to be
> second-hand and third-hand information, and is not confirmed by the
> controlled experiments we just reported. Media Sciences is
> not aware of
> any irradiation of mail that melts package contents,
> including CD discs
> and jewel cases? When did this irradiation occur? Was it U.S. mail or
> did it go through a different postal system?
> J. Hartke
> Peter Brothers wrote:
> > Tape, as well as discs are being damaged by the irradiation
> now being
> > used
> > on mail.
> > After giving a presentation at the National Archives in DC
> on disaster
> > recovery of magnetic tapes, I was approached by a
> government employee
> > who
> > asked if irradiation is likely to damage magnetic tape. I mentally
> > reviewed
> > the studies that have been done by various agencies and industries
> > the
> > years and answered, as most experts would, "No, irradiation is not
> > likely to
> > seriously damage magnetic tape". And, unless someone does something
> > that
> > most experts wouldn't consider because it is obviously
> ridiculous, the
> > answer was correct.
> > Of course, this government agency had recently received a number of
> > magnetic
> > recordings through the mail that had been melted.
> > It was once safe to take magnetic media through airport security.
> > have
> > now added magnetic wands that can erase media. Irradiation has been
> > used in
> > the past to kill fungus on media. They now irradiate in such a way
> > with
> > such intensities that it melts the media. Another method rumored to
> > under consideration for treating media, on site, that is
> suspected of
> > anthrax contamination is a 50% chlorine solution. I'm no
> > microbiologist, so
> > I can't fairly evaluate if this would kill the spores. I
> do know of a
> > number of media, however, that don't stand a chance of surviving the
> > treatment.
> > So, yes, there are a number of instances where media has
> actually been
> > melted by the irradiation now being used on letters and envelopes.
> > Strangely enough, unless they have changed the policy recently, they
> > only irradiating envelopes- not boxes. Go figure. I guess they
> > anthrax spores don't like boxes. Until they change the policy, you
> > might
> > want to consider shipping all your media in boxes. It may be more
> > expensive
> > for single units but it's a real pain trying to play back
> melted tapes
> > or
> > discs.
> > Peter Brothers
> > SPECS BROS., LLC
> > Tape and Disc Disaster Recovery
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Charles Repka [mailto:Charles.P.Repka@abc.com]
> > Sent: Friday, May 03, 2002 8:46 AM
> > To: AV Media Matters
> > Subject: RE: [AV Media Matters] New Test Results
> > But the heat generated by other sterilization processes will
> > fry
> > the discs. We have received a number of (promotional) CD
> here in our
> > office
> > that had been run through a sterilization process. The
> discs heavily
> > discolored and warped beyond recognition.
> > Charles Repka
> > >
> > >
> > > Tests conducted by Media Sciences in early 2002 on CD-ROM discs,
> > > recorded CD-R discs, and unrecorded CD-R discs indicate that
> > > beam irradiation of the type used to sterilize U.S. mail does
> > > not impair
> > > media interchange. See http://www.mscience.com/faq29.html.
> > >
> > > Regards,
> > > J. Hartke
> > > Media Sciences, Inc.
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