The U.S. Postal Service said yesterday it will send a warning to 135 million U.S. homes, businesses and other addresses cautioning them about the threat posed by biological hazards moving through the U.S. mail, despite emphasizing that there is no systematic threat.
All USPS employees who handle mail will be provided with gloves and masks immediately, the agency said.
Letters to Senate majority leader Tom Daschle's office in Washington and NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw in New York have tested positive for anthrax. News outlets reported that anthrax spores were found at a post office in Boca Raton, FL, site of the tabloid newspaper headquarters where anthrax was first detected and one employee died.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service has reassigned the vast majority of its 1,900 inspectors nationwide and 1,400 postal police officers to deal with the threat. Inspectors will be at postal facilities to isolate suspicious packages and to be a visible presence to reassure the public.
The USPS notice, expected to go out in 10 days, will tell the public to watch for mail that is unexpected; that bears an incorrect or outdated address; lacks a return address or has an address inconsistent with a postmark; is of unusual weight, shape or consistency; or is stained or heavily taped.