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Safety of Irradiated Mail Questioned

The arm of Congress responsible for enforcing labor laws on Capitol Hill called yesterday for further studies into the health effects of irradiated mail, saying the persistence of symptoms such as headaches, burning eyes and nosebleeds among more than 90 congressional workers warrants investigation.

"We believe these symptoms are not insignificant, both in terms of the number of complaints and in the effect on employee health and work performance," said Gary Green, general counsel of the Office of Compliance.

Congress halted mail delivery in October after a letter containing anthrax spores was opened by an aide to Senate Majority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.). Delivery to the Capitol resumed in January, and all mail heading to federal agencies in Washington now is sanitized by radiation before delivery.

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