skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 193187 Find in a Library
Title: Risk Assessment of Anthrax Threat Letters
Author(s): B. Kournikakis; S. J. Armour; C. A. Boulet; M. Spence; B. Parsons
Date Published: September 2001
Page Count: 34
Sponsoring Agency: Canada Minister of National Defence
Publication Number: DRES-TR-2001-048
Sale Source: Canada Minister of National Defence
Document: PDF
Type: Report (Technical)
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: This is a risk assessment of anthrax threat letters.
Abstract: A number of letters allegedly containing anthrax have been sent to health clinics, government offices, and other locations in the United States. Incidents to date have been hoaxes, but all must be treated as real until proven otherwise. The first Canadian anthrax letter incident occurred on January 30, 2001. Defence Research Establishment Suffield undertook a series of experiments attempting to determine the extent of the hazard. Envelopes containing (non-pathogenic) Bacillus globigii (BG) spores (a simulant for anthrax) were opened in a mock mail room/office environment. Dispersion of the spores was measured and data were used to try to determine what might occur in an office, mail room, or central registry if an envelope containing Bacillus anthracis (anthrax) spores were opened. Dispersion was far more effective than initially suspected. Inhalational anthrax is virtually 100 percent fatal if left untreated. The study showed that a lethal dose could be inhaled within seconds of opening an envelope filled with anthrax spore. A person who remained in the room for 10 minutes could inhale 480 LD50s from a 0.1 gram filled envelope and 3,080 LD50s from a 1.0 gram filled envelope. In addition, the aerosol would quickly spread throughout the room so that others would likely inhale lethal doses. Envelopes with the open corners not specifically sealed could also pose a threat to individuals in the mail handling system. Figures, table, references, annex
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Biological weapons; Canada; Communicable diseases; Dangerousness; Diseases; Science and Technology; Terrorism/Mass Violence; Terrorist tactics; Terrorist weapons
Note: Downloaded February 25, 2002
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.