Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Imagine, a household method of killing anthrax!

By Aussiegirl

Let's hope we don't undergo another anthrax attack, but knowing that a hot iron can destroy the bacteria is comforting. Not comforting at all is that fact that according to the article the 2001 anthrax attacks remain unsolved.

High school senior discovers ironing deactivates anthrax - PittsburghLIVE.com

Protecting yourself from biological weapons might be as simple as using a hot clothes iron.
Through a project for a statewide science competition, Central Catholic High School senior Marc Roberge discovered truth in the urban legend that ironing can kill anthrax spores in contaminated mail.

His findings will appear in the June edition of the Journal of Medical Toxicology, which publishes peer-reviewed research papers. It is an accomplishment usually reserved for Ph.D.-level scientists and physicians.

[...] Instead, he substituted a more heat-resistant but harmless bacterial spore from the anthrax family that scientists often use as a surrogate.

Marc Roberge placed paper strips laden with millions of spores inside standard envelopes, and then ironed the mail at various dry heat settings for up to 15 minutes.

He found that an iron adjusted to the hottest setting -- at least 204.5 degrees Celsius, or 400 degrees Fahrenheit -- and used for at least 5 minutes destroyed all spores so no bacteria would grow. The iron didn't open the letters or make pen-written addresses hard to read, Roberge said.

[...] Based on Roberge's findings, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center bioterrorism expert Dr. Michael Allswede doesn't recommend that people routinely press their mail.

"But should there be another threat like the anthrax attacks in 2001, it would be one of the techniques that could be used by regular people," he said.


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