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Irradiation of US mail is in the pipeline
by *.*
Monday Dec 3rd, 2001 10:11 AM
In order to create a system that would allow the mailing of items like seeds, film, drugs, food, etc., a complex series of loopholes would have to be created, which could then be used to circumvent this expensive (and dangerous) "Anthrax Defense System".
Patty Lovera of Public Citizen gave an interview on KPFA's Morning Show on Dec. 3, 2001.

Surebeam Corp, a subsidiary of defense contractor Titan, has received a $40 million contract to place 8 of their electron beam machines in postal centers in the Washington DC area (and in NJ for mail to NYC).

The ionizing radition released by these machines causes changes in such commonly mailed items as food, film, medical drugs, medical tests/specimens, seeds.

This treatment, meant to kill anthrax spores that could be in the mail, uses much higher levels of radiation than the levels already in use to irradiate ("electronically pasteurize") some food products in the US.

Some people have received irradiated mail (e.g. prescription drugs) with a warning label applied by the post office: "This has been sanitized. Consult your doctor before taking."

Irradiated seeds will not grow.

Public Citizen and the Center for Food Safety have released a report on dangerous changes in food (the formation of unique radiolytic compounds) caused by the lower levels of irradiation currently used on some food products in the US:

---
"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ignored growing evidence that a new class of chemicals formed when food is irradiated could be harmful, according to a report released by Public Citizen and the Center for Food Safety. The groups are urging the FDA to refrain from legalizing irradiation for any additional types of food until the new chemicals are tested for safety.

"The chemicals, called cyclobutanones, do not occur naturally anywhere on Earth. They recently were found to cause genetic damage in rats, and genetic and cellular damage in human and rat cells. The groups’ report, Hidden Harm, details how the FDA has ignored this unique class of chemicals, which are created in many irradiated foods that the agency has legalized for sale in this country ¾ including beef, pork, chicken, lamb, eggs, mangoes and papayas. It is expected that cyclobutanones also would be formed in many other foods the FDA is currently considering to legalize for irradiation."

http://www.citizen.org/publications/release.cfm?ID=7113
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press release from Public Citizen: http://www.citizen.org/pressroom/release.cfm?ID=944

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Other concerns about the mail irradiation plan:

-The electron beam machine creates ozone, which could be a worker-safety concern in the postal processing centers where the machines will be located.

-A comparison of the radiation levels involved (note that the electron beam does Not make things radioactive):
This radiation is measured in "Kilo Grays" (kG). Food irradiation ranges from 1 kG (for hamburger) to 30 kG (for spices). 30 kG is the equivalent of 1 BILLION chest X-rays. Irradiation of mail is set at 50 kG.

-Although it has not yet been moved on, there is a proposal to allocate 2 billion dollars for more widespread use of these irradiation machines in postal centers throughout the country.

-It seems that in order to create a system that would allow the mailing of items like seeds, film, drugs, food, etc., a complex series of loopholes would have to be created, which could then be used to circumvent this expensive (and dangerous) "Anthrax Defense System".
by .
Tuesday Dec 4th, 2001 10:04 AM
1 "kilogray" = 100,000 "rads"

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