|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Stephen Driesler, 202/347-3375
WASHINGTON - Stephen Driesler, executive director of the School Division of The Association of American Publishers, provided the following information today in response to several customer queries received by AAP's members.
"Our publisher members have advised that some cartons of textbooks and other printed instructional materials contain a drying agent that appears as a white, powdery substance. Printers have assured us that this substance is non-toxic, non-hazardous, non-combustible and non-flammable. The substance, which is made primarily from cornstarch, is used by printers at various points in the printing process to prevent ink from smearing or to keep pages from sticking together.
"AAP's members have received only a handful of queries about the drying agent. However, given present concerns over chemical and biological hazards, AAP and its members are taking steps to communicate the nature of this substance to customers and law enforcement authroities.
Some individual publishers have issued advisories, labeled cartons with information about the agent, and alerted their customer service departments. In addition, many boo printers have agreeed to try to eliminate or minimize the use of this substance from the printing process.
Further questions can be addressed to AAP or individual publixhers. "Nevertheless, if a package is suspicious or appears to have been tampered with, it would be prudent to contact local authorities."