This document provides interim recommendations for workers involved
in mail sorting, distribution and handling in state, county and
local public facilities.
program to reduce skin or respiratory exposures to B. anthracis
spores may decrease the risk of anthrax disease in mail handlers.
These interim recommendations are based on the limited information
available on ways to avoid infection and the effectiveness of various
prevention strategies. These recommendations will be updated as
new information becomes available.
rank order of measures will be used to control potential exposures
to B. anthracis. These include, starting with the highest rank order,
engineering controls to capture B. anthracis spores at potential
points of release, housekeeping measures to reduce the spread of
B. anthracis spores and personal protective equipment to prevent
Management is evaluating the feasibility of installing engineering
controls such as HEPA-filtered exhaust hoods or enclosures for
high-speed mail handling equipment and for other areas where dust
is generated by processing mail.
Housekeeping measures reduce the spread of B. anthracis spores
and personal protective equipment to prevent worker exposure.
Areas should be wet-cleaned and/or vacuumed with HEPA filter equipped
vacuum cleaners. Do not dry sweep or dust.
Protective Equipment (PPE)
gloves will be available to all workers handling mail (e.g., envelopes
Different gloves or layers of gloves may be needed depending on
the task, the dexterity required and the type of protection needed.
In some cases, workers may need to wear cotton gloves under impermeable
gloves for comfort and to prevent dermatitis. Skin rashes and
other dermatological conditions are a potential hazard of wearing
Gloves will be provided in a range of sizes to ensure proper fit.
choice of glove material (e.g., powder-free nitrile or vinyl)
will be based on safety, fit, durability and comfort.
gloves should Not be worn because of the risk of developing skin
sensitivity or allergy.
Care must be taken to avoid touching skin, eyes, or other mucous
membranes since contaminated gloves may transfer B. anthracis
spores to other body sites.
Gloves should be discarded if they are visibly torn or damaged.
Long-sleeved clothing should be worn to protect exposed skin and
gloves should be pulled over the ends of the sleeves.
Hands should be thoroughly washed with soap and water when gloves
are removed, before eating and when replacing torn or worn gloves.
Soap and water will wash away most spores that my have contacted
the skin. Disinfectant solutions are not needed. Do not rely on
alcohol-based hand cleaners, as these cleaners will not remove
spores as well as soap and water.
Used or torn gloves can be discarded in regular trash.
engineering controls are not yet available, NIOSH approved N or
P 100 filtering facepiece (dust mask) respirators will be available
for employees to minimize risk.
to Recognize and Handle a Suspicious Package or Envelope