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Publication Citation: Irradiation Decontamination of Postal Mail: Lessons Learned and Future Opportunities

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Author(s): Marc F. Desrosiers; Stephen M. Seltzer; James M. Puhl; Paul M. Bergstrom; Lawrence T. Hudson; S L. Cooper;
Title: Irradiation Decontamination of Postal Mail: Lessons Learned and Future Opportunities
Published: Date Unknown
Abstract: In October 2001, first class letters, which were laced with Bacillus anthracis spores, were sent to political and media targets resulting in five deaths and 22 illnesses, significant mail service disruption, and economic loss. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy established a technical task force on mail decontamination that included three key agencies: the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute; and, the United States Postal Service. A cooperative effort between this task force and industry led to protocols for the processing of letter and parcel mail. After these efforts, NIST examined the technical issues and barriers to the use of ionizing radiation to mitigate bioterrorism agents in high-risk passenger luggage. The purpose of this work is to develop irradiation specifications, procedures, and protocols that will ensure that broad classes of bioterrorism agents in passenger luggage will be neutralized without damaging luggage contents and inconveniencing passengers with long delays. This work focuses on three areas: the assembly of critical input data, the development of a coupled computational-experimental verification approach for estimating the radiation dose that can be delivered to passenger luggage and the application of the computations to a larger variety of luggage configurations followed by the development of specifications, procedures, and protocols for the irradiation of passenger luggage. A discussion of the problems and issues encountered offers ideas for future research supporting irradiation applications for control of biohazards. .
Citation: Journal of Research (NIST JRES) -
Keywords: anthrax;biohazard;dosimetry;homeland security;monte carlo;radiation
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