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Anthrax sweep spoils electronics goods

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The US Postal Service may be damaging electronic goods by irradiating parcels to guard against anthrax.

Compact flash memory cards can become unusable after been subjected to intense beams of electrons, the CompactFlash Association warned at the Consumer Electronics Show yesterday, Reuters reports.

"Testing has confirmed that these systems, damage not only semiconductors, but other goods as well, including pharmaceuticals, contact lenses, biological samples, and photographic film," the group warned.

The US Postal Service has used e-beam irradiation systems to sterilise postal packets since October.

The Association says it intends to work with the Post Office in finding safe ways to deliver semiconductor goods by mail.

While e-beam irradiation systems carry a risk of damaging CompactFlash cards, X-ray scanners at airports have been determined to be safe. ®

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