American Libraries: No danger from printing powder

Contact: Leonard Kniffel


ALA News Release

For Immediate Release

November 6, 2001

American Libraries: No danger from printing powder

Leonard Kniffel, editor of
American Libraries, has issued a memo assuring readers that there is no reason for alarm should they find residue of a white, powdery substance in the November issue polybagged with the American Library Association (ALA) Handbook of Organization.

The powder is a nonhazardous agent, similar to talcum powder, that is used to dry ink and reduce static electricity. In light of current concerns, the ALA's printing company, Brown Printing Company, is reducing or eliminating the use of materials in the manufacturing process that may leave some residue. The handbook, however, was printed in October, and some residue has been found in some of the bagged mailings.

The Centers for Disease Control has issued the following statement on the issue: "We are aware of concerns that have been expressed by the general public about Anthrax being transmitted through paper and ink. The public is at no risk of disease from handling printed paper."

American Libraries is the magazine of the ALA and circulates to about 63,000 members and more than 3,000 institutional subscribers.