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CAP HILL MAIL-HANDLER BLEEDING FROM NOSE AND EARS
Wed Jan 30 2002 17:16:19 ET
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) on Wednesday sent a letter to Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Alfonso Lenhardt asking for a full accounting of the health of staffers "who have returned to the Hart Senate Office Building and other parts of the Capitol complex."
Grassley's inquiry was sparked by growing concerns among House and Senate aides about both the safety of the anthrax-cleansed Hart Building and the impact of irradiated mail, reports ROLL CALL's Ed Henry.
A Senate source said that Congressional officials are planning a joint House-Senate meeting for office managers on Thursday to discuss concerns about the irradiated mail. Details are still being worked out.
Grassley noted that some Senate aides have complained of ailments after returning to the Hart Building, which was closed for 96 days after an anthrax-laced letter was opened in Senate Majority Leader Thomas Daschle's (D-S.D.) personal office. Some aides have complained of watering eyes, sore throats and headaches.
"How many staff members have complained to any Congressional entity -- including your office, the Capitol Health Unit, the Hart Health Unit, the Office of the Attending Physician and any other entity -- of ill health effects related to the Hart building clean-up?" wrote Grassley.
The Senator asked Lenhardt to "describe the steps you are taking to follow up on the complaints and check their validity."
One House aide tells ROLL CALL that the staff assistant who handles the mail in her office has had bleeding from his nose and ears.
"Not from blowing his nose," she stressed. "When he handles the mail, [his nose] just starts bleeding. Same with his ears."
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