WASHINGTON (AP) -- At least 87 suburban postal workers who handled irradiated mail have reported health problems including nausea, headaches and breathing problems, union leaders say.
Postal officials are using irradiation to protect against anthrax contamination.
At least 87 of about 750 workers at the Gaithersburg, Md., postal facility have reported problems, said Tammy Thompson, president of the Montgomery County local of the postal workers union.
"The employees are experiencing nosebleeds, runny noses, runny eyes, extreme headaches, nausea," Thompson told The Washington Post for a story published Saturday.
A few have missed several days of work or have filed workers' compensation claims.
The postal union complaints come about two days after physicians on Capitol Hill said 73 Senate staffers had similar symptoms.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Postal Service are investigating the safety of the treated mail.
Government investigators say the symptoms are minor and that new precautions have eliminated observable levels of harmful gases likely caused by the irradiation.
An anthrax-tainted letter was found in Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle's office in the Hart Senate office building last October. As a precaution, mail destined for federal offices in Washington is now sanitized with radiation at postal facilities in Ohio and New Jersey.
The mail is then sorted at a postal station in Washington and sent to area postal facilities, including the one in Gaithersburg.
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