- The Washington Times - Friday, March 15, 2002

A new mail sorting machine is designed to detect, filter and analyze micron-sized biohazards such as anthrax in mail is the latest invention spurred by the events of last fall.
Officials with Lockheed Martin Inc. said yesterday that its BioMailSolution system is being marketed to federal government agencies in the District and nationwide that receive mail not radiated by the U.S. Postal Service a security precaution implemented in late October after the anthrax attacks that killed two workers at the Brentwood facility in Northeast.
"This is the industry's first state of the art, end-to-end biohazard detection system for the mail industry for mailrooms both large and small," said Judy Marks, president of distribution technologies at Lockheed Martin.
"It allows us to do particle detection and analysis and protect workers in mailrooms throughout the world," Mrs. Marks told reporters during a demonstration of the new machine at the Washington Convention Center. "We're ready to start integrating these solutions to the federal government."
Lockheed officials said government agencies, including the State Department, the Department of Commerce and the Internal Revenue Service, viewed demonstrations of BioMailSolution this week.
The Postal Service, which was awarded $500 million from Congress to clean anthrax out of its facilities and plan the detection and removal of future biothreats, began sending government mail to companies in Lima, Ohio, and Bridgeport, N.J., for irradiation after the anthrax attacks.
Currently, however, only mail addressed to four government ZIP codes in the District is being irradiated.
"For the IRS, for example, you may have an office in another state receiving mail that is not being irradiated," Mrs. Marks said. Additionally, the vast majority of mail in the United States is not irradiated.
Detection systems are "a realistic and feasible way of providing security being looked at by the Postal Service for big processing and distribution centers [such as Brentwood]," Postal Service spokesman Jerry Kreienkamp said.
He said the Postal Service is considering Lockheed's BioMailSolution system along with systems being designed by other companies.
In addition to the central model of the BioMailSolution system, which can sort and anylaze up to 40,000 pieces of mail an hour, Lockheed yesterday announced the availability of several smaller biohazard-detection systems.
The smaller systems include a manual mail-sorting center that draws air away from the person opening mail, a handheld detection device and one monitering system that can be worn on the body of a mail handler.
The larger model costs between $500,000 and $1 million, Mrs. Marks said. The smaller systems will sell for $20,000 or more depending on the size of the model.
Lockheed Martin, based in Bethesda, is the world's largest defense contractor. Officials in the company said about 90 percent of its $24 billion in annual revenue comes from contracts with the U.S. and foreign governments. Fifty percent of the revenue comes from contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense.


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