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US. Postal Service Notification of Delivery of Irradiated Mail to Federal Agencies

Sunday, November 18, 2001
MSG 2001-102
Human Resources Directors
Thomas G. Day Vice President, Engineering, United States Postal Service
US. Postal Service Notification of Delivery of Irradiated Mail to Federal Agencies

Dear Government Mail Customer: 

On Monday, November 19, the Washington, DC post office begins delivering federal government mail that has been irradiated at a Lima, Ohio facility.  

The irradiation process is safe, but can affect certain products sent through the mail. Although it is unlikely that the treated mail now being delivered contains any of the following products, if received, they should be discarded and replacements obtained:

  • Any biological sample, blood, fecal, etc., could be rendered useless

  • Diagnostic kits, such as those used to monitor blood sugar levels, could be adversely affected

  • Photographic film will be fully exposed

  • Food will be adversely affected

  • Drugs and medicines could have efficacy and safety affected

  • Eyeglasses and contact lenses could be adversely affected

  • Electronic devices would likely be rendered inoperable

While the first pieces of irradiated mail being delivered are First-Class Letters, over time, departments and agencies will also be receiving flats (larger envelopes) and packages. It is more likely that the items listed above would be contained in flats or packages. Mail that has been irradiated includes First-Class letters postmarked since October 12 and addressed to Washington, DC government customers with ZIP Codes beginning with 202-205. 

The irradiation process used at the Lima facility was tested and found to be effective by an interagency team of scientific experts that recommended release of the mail for delivery. The group was organized by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and included the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, the Food and Drug Administration the Department of Agriculture and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. 


original signed by:

Thomas G. Day
Vice President, Engineering
United States Postal Service