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Anaheim Postal Site Tested for Anthrax

Safety: The center serving North County is one of 260 U.S. facilities being checked.


As part of a national push to ensure that postal facilities are not contaminated with anthrax, federal investigators Wednesday began combing an Anaheim mail processing center for traces of the bacteria that have killed four people and left 13 ill.

The testing at the Anaheim Mail Processing and Distribution Facility was described as a precaution being taken at 260 postal hubs in the country. The Anaheim facility processes mail for all of north Orange County but is not open to walk-in customers.

Samples gathered at the La Palma Avenue facility will be analyzed at a Centers for Disease Control laboratory. The results are expected within 10 days.

"We're just trying to keep everyone calm and reassure our employees and customers that they're safe," said David Mazer, spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service. "This is one way to do it."

Postal management briefed employees at the facility before the anthrax testing began. The plant was not closed during the daylong operation, but employees were moved out of certain areas so hazardous materials teams could collect samples from machinery, docks and sorting areas.

The Anaheim facility has 535 employees and processes roughly 2.5 million pieces of mail each day, Mazer said.

The national prevention and safety campaign targets the largest mail processing facilities in the nation. The Santa Ana distribution center on Sunflower Avenue will also be tested for anthrax.

Mazer said there is no reason to believe that anthrax will be detected at any of the plants.

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