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Anthrax Cleanup to Start in D.C.

July 29, 2002

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Workers prepared to clean up anthrax spores from the Brentwood postal facility in the District of Columbia on Monday, where two postal employees died last October after letters tainted with anthrax passed through the facility.

Deborah Yackley, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Service, said workers were to begin pumping five pounds of chlorine dioxide gas into a tent covering three pieces of equipment that handled the anthrax tainted letters.

The area will be tested within a week to 10 days later, and if the effort proves successful, cleanup for the rest of the facility could begin in mid-August.

An Environmental Protection Agency mobile lab designed to monitor air quality in the Brentwood neighborhood in the northeast section of the district traveled through surrounding neighborhoods Monday to get air samples.

The mobile lab was used to check for anthrax spores in the Hart Senate Office Building after a tainted letter was opened last fall in the offices of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., EPA public relations chief Patrick Boyle said.

Some neighbors are nervous about spores or gas leaking from the postal facility but officials say the process is safe.

The EPA said chlorine dioxide gas, which will be used to kill the anthrax spores, vanishes instantly in the air when there is ultra violet sunlight.

Yackley said the decontamination process at the facility is expected to take 12 hours.

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