Irradiating the Mail: The Anthrax Attacks of 2001
This October marks the 20th anniversary of the anthrax terror attacks in the United States. The attacks targeted major media outlets and members of Congress and were delivered through letters containing highly refined anthrax spores.
Five people died, 18 others became seriously ill, and dozens more tested positive for anthrax exposure in Florida, New Jersey, New York, and the Washington, D.C., area. The victims included staffers at the targeted destinations and postal workers who handled the mail. Coming on the heels of 9/11, the attacks alarmed Americans as the threat of bioterrorism became real.
While the FBI investigated the anthrax attacks, the U.S. Postal Service turned to technology to sanitize the mail and decontaminate their processing facilities.