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Mail CO2 Oven

Bake all mail in an Over filled with CO2 to kill all biological agents.
  (+3, -1)
(+3, -1)
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As far a I know most things die when heated to several hundred degrees.

Put mail in bags, put bags in giant oven, fill oven with CO2 (to prevent combustion) and heat to 310 degrees. (Gas mark 9..!)

I would think (maybe someone with a microbiology degree can help with this one) that that would kill pretty much any biological threat contained within the mail without damaging the contents.

Packages/damagable mail could be filtered out and would have to be handled seperatly, but flat mail could be put through this oven...

As far as I know all the technology for this already exists... just needs someone to implement it...

Addendum: Heat levels increased as Anthrax survives to 300 degrees...

CasaLoco, Oct 22 2001

The temperature at which paper combusts. http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/451/
Allegedly. [angel, Oct 22 2001]

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       Air has to be heated to aver 300 C to kill anthrax spores. Even if you remove the oxygen, it's still going to do horrible things to mail.
pottedstu, Oct 22 2001
  

       "...I assure you sir, the shrink-wrap was fine when it left our warehouse..."
phoenix, Oct 22 2001
  

       Why not have robots open the mail and photocopy it?
pottedstu, Oct 22 2001
  

       This would be a great way to deal with all those useless AOL CDs...
Guncrazy, Oct 22 2001
  

       Angel: That's the temperature at which it actually catches on fire. The temperature at which it would become less than readable is, I suspect, somewhat less.   

       Guncrazy: A better idea to use AOL CD's is as microwave entertainment. In someone else's microwave, of course.
StarChaser, Oct 22 2001
  

       Irradiate the mail. Only, it might be harsh on magnetic media like new credit cards. Maybe cards will have to use bar-codes now.
seal10, Oct 22 2001
  

       [pottedstu] "...but sir, we can't cash a *photocopy* of a check..."   

       [seal10] Easy. Use giant magnets to separate all the magnetic material from the non-magnetic material. Bake the magnetic, irradiate the non-magentic.   

       While I'm here:
<Obligatory annotation mentioning a giant washing machine and dryer>
phoenix, Oct 22 2001
  

       I don't think radiation directly affects magnetic media.   

       Just because you fill the chamber with CO2 doesn't mean the material will be fine. Paper still yellows, browns, and blackens. There's oxygen in those carbohydrates, and chemicals break down under heat.
egnor, Oct 22 2001
  

       Heeeeyyyy. I could mail myself a loaf of bread and get back toast...
phoenix, Oct 22 2001
  

       Thats scary - by the same logic I could print my hb ideas and mail them to myself... baked... arghh...   

       [phoenix] using magnets on magnetic media would be incredabley stu... oh wait, sarcasm...
RobertKidney, Oct 22 2001
  

       Boil all your mail, anthrax scare or no...
snarfyguy, Oct 23 2001
  

       What temperature does laser printer toner start to melt?
Mayfly, Oct 23 2001
  

       Idea has since been implemented.
CasaLoco, Nov 02 2009
  

       This has lots of problems. Biological and medical samples would be damaged, botulinum and some other toxins would survive, and prions wouldn't be destroyed either, i don't think.
nineteenthly, Nov 02 2009
  
      
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