(Memphis) After the 2001 anthrax attacks, the United States Postal Service installed Detection Systems to detect the presence of anthrax in many of their processing and distribution centers. However those systems do not detect ricin.
“I know it does test for many things. I’m not sure if ricin is one of those. I know it does test for anthrax,” said David Walton from the United States Postal Service.
However offsite mail facilities in Maryland were able to detect ricin in letters addressed to Senator Roger Wicker and President Barack Obama.
Those offsite facilities were a precaution put in place after the 9/11 attacks.
“When the mail goes to the capital, it goes to a specific location, then it’s tested and then it’s distributed,” said Randy Wade who spent several years working at the US Capital.
Wade thinks there should be better detection systems at all USPS processing and distribution centers around the country, “You don’t want to wait until something happens and then say we want to put it in place. It’s too late then. We need something now. Whatever the cost is, to save one life is worth it all."
Spokesperson for the Postal Inspector, Margaret Williams, would not confirm if all processing and distribution centers, like the one in Memphis at 555 S. Third Street, have the Biohazard Detection Systems.
The USPS location on South Third is where the ricin laced letters sent to the President and Senator Wicker were postmarked.