National Geographic Assures Consumers That Mailings Are Safe

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The National Geographic Society yesterday reassured people that its mailings are safe.


National Geographic said it has received an unprecedented number of phone calls and e-mails from people concerned that direct mail letters sent in October from the Washington-based organization were contaminated with anthrax at the District of Columbia post office.


The letters, sent to more than 23 million addresses worldwide, invited people to join the society and offered a free map of Afghanistan to new members.


"Although the letters carry the society's trademark yellow border and Washington, DC, headquarters' return address, they weren't mailed from Washington," said Betty Hudson, senior vice president of the National Geographic Society. "All 23 million pieces in this bulk mailing were printed in the Midwest, then driven by truck to 21 bulk mail centers around the country for delivery. Unless a recipient receives his or her mail within the District of Columbia, the envelope never passes through the DC post office. The same goes for all our other mailings -- magazines, catalogs, renewal notices, promotional book mailings are also printed and processed outside Washington, DC."


Hudson said National Geographic's customer service operators at 800/NGS-LINE have been assuring callers that the society is sensitive to public fears about mail with a Washington return address and that bulk mail from National Geographic does not originate in Washington.


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