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From: plantnut plantnut at macconnect.com> on 2001.10.27 at 20:29:23(7685)
What will be the effect on seeds and plants by the Post Office's new
irradation machines. If you mail seeds or plants... will they be mush on
arrival? What do you think?

From: Don Martinson llmen at wi.rr.com> on 2001.10.27 at 23:41:27(7691)
>What will be the effect on seeds and plants by the Post Office's new
>irradation machines. If you mail seeds or plants... will they be mush on
>arrival? What do you think?

They will have to make some sort of accommodation for businesses such
as seed houses and nurseries. How that may effect those of us who
mail in less than bulk quantities is anyone's guess.

To order a supply of my new lead-lined envelopes, go to:
http://........... ;)

Don Martinson

From: Don Burns donburns at macconnect.com> on 2001.10.28 at 02:16:15(7693)
>What will be the effect on seeds and plants by the Post Office's new
>irradation machines. If you mail seeds or plants... will they be mush on
>arrival? What do you think?

Good question. The news I saw on the TV talked about "electron beam
radiation". Assuming for a moment that the TV news somehow succeeded in
getting it right (you U.S. news watchers know this difficult for them, of
course), then what this technique probably is is a heating effect.

I was at the post office this morning, and while waiting in line thought
about asking the clerk if there was any written information available about
the electron beam devices and how they affect other living things such as
seeds. But I did not ask. I had a vision of being surrounded by men in dark
suits and sun glasses.

Don Burns

From: "Derek Burch" derek at horticulturist.com> on 2001.10.28 at 03:19:22(7694)
I would suggest not sending your favorite frogs through the mail. Derek
----- Original Message ----- > Milwaukee, Wisconsin

From: Paul Tyerman ptyerman at ozemail.com.au> on 2001.10.28 at 15:26:11(7697)
At 10:21 27/10/01 -0500, you wrote:
>I would suggest not sending your favorite frogs through the mail. Derek
>----- Original Message ----- > Milwaukee, Wisconsin
From: "Phil Bunch" pbunch at cts.com> on 2001.10.28 at 15:27:20(7698)
Listening to a piece on NPR Friday afternoon they were discussing
various methods that may be used. The electron method may not work
well over the long run since electrons will not penetrate more than a
few inches of paper. That means they would have to lay the mail out
one or two layers thick. I don't know much about the existing mass
mail processing systems but I suspect they were not designed with this
in mind. Most likely mass transport is designed to use bags or boxes.
There may be key points in the system where the mail is one layer
thick but if so I'll bet it moves past that point vary rapidly. If it
goes by too fast, it may require a very dense beam since the effective
dose has to be time dependent.

The higher energy systems will penetrate several feet of mail and
appear to be a better choice. The dose received COULD depend on how
deep the object was in the pile. Those on the top layer might get
quite a dose while those on the bottom might receive less. Depending
on design this might not be a significant difference. If the dose
required to kill bacteria and/or viruses is relatively low one would
think they would design the system to handle as much bulk as possible.
At best sending seed would be a gamble.

If I recall correctly the report indicted that an electron system was
ready for commercial deployment but that due to this little problem
one should not go out an buy stock in the manufacturer just yet. The
high energy systems pose a greater exposure risk for mail handlers and
this will involve some serious design issues.

There are a lot of variables here!

Phil Bunch
Lemon Grove, California

From: RThomp9589 at aol.com on 2001.10.28 at 17:01:04(7701)
Given the current state of things at the post office, consider shipping anything living by another carrier. Priority mail used to be two days . My Topiflora shipment
now took eight days to get here. My shipment fron Hawaii took 16 (!) days.
All by supposedly the fastest means available.
Rob Thompson
From: Denis denis at skg.com> on 2001.10.28 at 20:05:04(7703)
I don't think they can afford to irradiate everything that is mailed,
just the stuff going to the Government offices in Washington DC. In the
meantime I have gone back to UPS for small packages. Also, if you take
parcels to the post office to mail it and insure it, it is possible they
will not worry about irradiating it or sending back to you little
packages of plants or envelopes of seeds. They will have your picture on
file as the sender from their security cameras.

Denis at Silver Krome Gardens

From: Betsy Feuerstein ecuador at midsouth.rr.com> on 2001.10.29 at 03:39:17(7707)
Wait a minute. Priority mail is the old first class mail and yes, they
used to say two day. Actually I have shipped things this last week via
Priority mail and been astounded, they were two days. Now, all be it, they
were going to the west coast. I don't think they would make it quite that
fast to the east coast, maybe. Overnight mail, on the other hand, this
last week took five days. You figure, four plus the cost and four plus
the slow.
From: Alektra at aol.com on 2001.10.29 at 03:39:42(7709)
I would suggest looking over the photography discussion groups and reading
about their members' plans to deal with mailing unprocessed film.

A company called Sima makes reasonably priced flexible film pouches lined
with lead, which are supposed to be widely available. Physicists may correct
me, but I believe anything that will beat x-rays will beat beta rays, which
is what these "electron beams" are. Note, I didn't say "cheap," I said
"reasonably priced," I seem to recall in the 3-5 buck range.

Talk about "The Effect of Beta Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Aroids" Or was that
"Gamma Rays on Marigolds..." LOL!

I agree with what has been said on the list; my guess is that for the next
few months, only the plant people mailing into or out of the vicinity of
Washington, DC will have anything to worry about anyhow. But I don't know how
people are going to ship food in metal boxes any more... granny's cookies in
care packages to college students, etc.

How do we know that UPS and FedEx are any "safer" for live tissue? For all we
know, they are setting up these electron beams, too.

This is all going to have to be dealt with, because there are too many people
sending live tissue through the carriers for everything to get nailed with
these beta rays-- not just our beloved aroids and other plants and seeds, but
medical test samples and of course tubes of bacteria and spores for
scientific purposes!

From: SelbyHort at aol.com on 2001.10.29 at 03:39:54(7710)
The text below from the CDC web site in their FAQ about irradiated food
While not the most recent information (the page is dated 1999), it does
indicate that seeds will be killed during irradiation. Hopefully UPS or Fed
Ex will not resort to using this method.
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