USPS: Mail is Safe

Share this content:
WASHINGTON -- Thomas Day, vice president of engineering at the U.S. Postal Service told a packed audience at the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee meeting yesterday that the biggest misconception about the U.S. Postal Service right now is that the agency is irradiating all mail.

"We are only irradiating federal government mail here in the district," Day said. "That's it. No other mail is being irradiated. The fear that you cannot mail around this country right now because it will be irradiated are baseless."

Day also spent some time explaining that there is no truth to claims in the media that the technology the agency is using to irradiate mail is causing people on Capitol Hill to get sick.

"It's interesting that in a season of colds and flu, [sickness] is being attributed to the mail," he said.

Day said, however, that a byproduct to the irradiation process the USPS is using right now is that it emits volatile organic compounds into the air. But, he said these VOCs are not quite as ominous as they may sound.

"Organic compounds are part of our daily lives, and commonly occur in the modern environment we live in," he said. "There are VOCs around us all the time. If you use nail polish, you are being exposed to VOCs."

Day said that there are some issues of individual sensitivity when it comes to odors -- so some of the claims are not completely baseless. As a result, he said the USPS is using a spray product the USPS learned about from fire departments to kill off VOCs. He also said that the mail itself is not emitting the VOCs; instead it is the bag the mail is irradiated in that is causing them. As a result, Day said the USPS is working with its irradiation contractors to make sure they open the bags the mail is in as soon as it is irradiated so that the mail does not stew in the gases.

Day said the USPS is still actively looking at irradiation, and learning about the different processes and their side effects.

While there are some harmful side effects to things like live animals and pharmaceuticals. "irradiation remains the only scientifically-proven way to deal with biohazard contamination of the mail."

Day also said that if the agency was to go forward with more irradiation plans, "we will let you [and the public] know about it…Anything we do to expand the use of irradiation, we will notify the public. You cannot do irradiation in secret."


Next Article in Direct Mail

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

Since 1985, Melissa has helped thousands of companies clean, correct and complete contact data to better target and communicate with their customers. We offer a full spectrum of data quality solutions, including global address, phone, email, and name validation, identify verification - available for batch or real-time processes, in the Cloud or on-premise. Our service bureau provides dedupe, email/phone append and geographic/demographic append services for better targeting and insight. For direct mailers, Melissa offers easy-to-use address management/postal software, list hygiene services and 100s of specialty mailing lists - all with competitive pricing and excellent customer service.

Find out more here »

Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here

Relive the 2017 Marketing Hall of Femme

Click the image above