Today, upon going to the mailbox, I noticed several interesting letters in there. They were all in seperately sealed plastic bags. Turns out, this mail had gone through the Hamilton, New Jersey post office that was the originating office for the anthrax-filled letters that had been sent around the United States following the September 11 attacks. It also happens to be only 7 miles from my house, give or take a few.

We had heard that they were going to irradiate mail sent through there, and today it showed up. The most interesting part was the letter from the Postal Service on the back of the bag. It is included below:

Dear Postal Customer:

The mail that is being delivered in this bag has been irradiated at a facility in Bridgeport, New Jersey. The irradiation process used at the Bridgeport facility was tested and found to be effective in destroying anthrax by an interagency team of scientific experts that recommend release of this mail for delivery. While the irradiation process is safe, it can affect some products that might be contained in this mail. The products on this list, if contined in a package or envelope that has been irradiated, should not be used. You should discard them and obtain replacements.

While the irradiation process successfully kills anthrax, if your mail contains any suspicious substances, we urge you to set it aside and contact local law enforcement authorities. This can help in the investigation.

The group of experts that tested the irradiation process was organized by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and included the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Agriculture and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

We apologize for the delay in delivery of this mail and for any inconvenience that may have resulted. Our primary interest is to assure that this mail is safe before being delivered to you. More information is available at 1-800-ASK-USPS.

Thank you for understanding

Thomas G. Day
Vice President, Engineering

By the way, the unopened mail went right into the trash as soon as I finished typing this.