A proposal to ban the mailing of germs and dangerous toxins has drawn vigorous opposition, Assistant Postmaster General Frank R. Heselton said Wednesday.
As a result, final action on the ban has been postponed until the issue can be more fully studied, Heselton told members of a House Post Office and Civil Service subcommittee.
Of 508 comments received after the proposed rule was made public, only seven favored the ban, Heselton said. Opposition, for various reasons, came from doctors, laboratories, universities, pathologists and state and federal health groups, he said.
The plan to exclude germs and toxins from the mail was announced in June in the wake of reports that the military had increased shipments of such items. The action was taken “to ensure the safety and health of . . . customers and employees,” the Postal Service said in announcing the decision.
Opponents of the restriction contended that there is no record of anyone ever being infected by handling mailed germs or toxins. They said the ban would increase the costs of shipping medical materials for testing purposes, possibly slow down such testing and might lead mailers to improperly package and misidentify such items in order to mail them.