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
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.
industrial vacuum cleaner equipped with high-efficiency particulate
air (HEPA) filters should be the first choice of cleaning high-speed
mail-sorting equipment. Blow-down/blow-off should not be used
to remove dust.
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, 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.
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.
or torn gloves can be discarded in regular trash.
Personal Protective Equipment
use of disposable aprons/coveralls or goggles by persons working
with or near equipment or machinery known or suspected to generate
aerosolized particles may provide an extra margin of protection.
As with gloves, used aprons/coveralls and goggles can be discarded
in regular trash.
engineering controls are not yet available, NIOSH approved elastomeric
half mask respirators will be available for employees to minimize
risk. P 100 filters should be made available in conditions where
oil mist from machinery or high humidity is present. A Respiratory
Protection Program will be implemented. A respiratory protection
program is important because it ensures that the respirator is cleaned,
stored, or maintained properly so that the respirator itself does
not create a hazard. In addition, a medical evaluation is made to
determine the ability of the individual to wear the respirator.
to Recognize and Handle a Suspicious Package or Envelope