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Copiers Helped Spread Anthrax

17 Sep, 2002

Copiers Helped Spread Anthrax

As harmless as copiers may seem, it appears as though copy machines may responsible for the anthrax contamination of the entire American Media Inc. (AMI) building in Palm Beach, Florida. This apparently is the theory after FBI investigators returned to the building at the end of August building for 12 days, armed with new techniques for detecting large quantities of anthrax.

According to sources close to the FBI, investigators found anthrax spores in every one of the more than two dozen copy machines in the three-story 68,000-square foot building. It is believed that the microscopic spores were spread from the mailroom where the letter was opened and also through reams of copy paper that were stored in the mailroom. The tainted copy paper made its way to different copiers in the building and fans located inside of copy machines blew the spores throughout the entire building.

The AMI building held the first known case of anthrax contamination when photo editor, Robert Stevens, received an anthrax-tainted letter. Stevens died from anthrax poisoning in October and was the first of five people to die nationwide from the anthrax attacks. Ernesto Blanco, who worked in the AMI mailroom was hospitalized but recovered.

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