NJ Post Office That Handled Anthrax-Laced Letters Reopens

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The New Jersey post office that handled anthrax-laced letters in 2001 reopened yesterday morning, according to news reports.


The Trenton Processing and Distribution Center in Hamilton Township, NJ, had been closed since Oct. 18, 2001, after it was contaminated by anthrax spores released by letters processed there.


The building was fumigated early last year with chlorine dioxide gas to kill any remaining anthrax spores. The building now has sensors to detect anthrax and other biological agents -- a feature that all of the nation's postal distribution centers are due to receive.


There were five confirmed anthrax infections and two suspected cases in New Jersey in 2001, but no fatalities. Investigators have not determined who was responsible for the attacks.


According to news reports, of the roughly 500 postal workers at the site, about 10 have said they will not work in the building, their union president said. Those workers can be moved to other postal centers. However, the four workers who were infected there have not returned to work and are not expected to return to the building.


Since the facility's closure, the U.S. Postal Service has decontaminated Curseen-Morris Processing and Distribution Center in Washington, DC, which was similarly contaminated by two of the letters that moved through the Trenton facility.


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