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[AV Media Matters] Irradiation of mail

Here is an informal report on irradiation of 
packages as regards magnetic media and CDs.
It is clear that significantly 
powerful irradiation will destroy CDs and erase magnetic 
Postings to the AV listserv and various
postings are a bit confusing.  Information has developed as this became an 
issue, and many postings are dated last November or not at all.
The general consensus seems to be that
the heavy 
dosage occurs as mail enters the recipients' system.  Large US

Government addresses for buildings where there is great concern have 
the most stringent processes.  This includes the Library of 
Congress, Smithsonian, Congressional offices, etc.  No special

precautions seem to have been taken at less massive installations.  


I was told the Smithsonian has a special address 
which bypasses their normal mailroom processing, but I don't know what it 
The Library of Congress has had problems with 
irradiation of the US mail.  Packages arriving by private carrier (UPS, Fed 
Ex, etc.)are arriving OK.
It is unclear what the post office is doing in the 
normal course of its business.  The same can be said for UPS which
me they can't inform us as it is a security matter, although, as mentioned 
above, materials shipped through them are arriving OK.
Fed Ex has acknowledged the issue
and offers a 
Susan Carr, the Fed Ex Webmaster, sent
me an email 
which I here condense.
"We do not x-ray our packages or use scanning 
devices that will affect magnetic media.
It is recommended that shippers mark their packages 
"Keep Away from Magnetized Material" to avoid close proximity with
magnetized and radioactive items.
The FedEx small box (12-1/4 x 10-7/8 x
1-3/8") is a 
self assembling box.  Mark "FedEx Box" on the airbill."
FedEx recommends the use of bubblewrap
cushioning.  The recipient should be advised to unpack the media and let it 
sit at room temperature 6 to 8 hours before use  (presumably to 
"The FedEx letter or courier pak envelope cannot be 
used for shipping any kind of magnetic media.  For more info,
My comment:
Great, except that the box is to large
to fit into 
their shipping bins as found on the street.  I note some folks leave their 
big packages next to the Fed-Ex mailbox which raises security issues.  I 
leave mine at Staples which has a daily pickup at no extra cost.  I 
assume other, similar services are available where you are.  They also pick 
up when called.
Presumably, the private carriers have no 
problems with CDs.
Please note.  This is a survey, not a 
Steve Smolian
Smolian    301-694-5134Smolian Sound 
Studios---------------------------------------------------CDs made from 
old recordings,Five or one or lifetime hoardings,Made at home or
hall,Text and pics explain it all.at <A 
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