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Latest anthrax cleanup of Senate office building complete

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The latest attempt to kill anthrax spores in the Hart Senate Office Building was completed Monday morning, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

EPA spokeswoman Jennifer Browne said that the fumigation effort, which involved pumping chlorine dioxide into the building's ventilation and air conditioning system, was finished at about 2:30 a.m. EST.

That effort then was followed by "scrubbing," a process involving the removal of the gas from the ventilation system. The scrubbing also was completed Monday at about 4 a.m. EST.

The Hart building has been shut down since October, when aides to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, opened an anthrax-contaminated letter in his office. The building remains closed.

This latest fumigation effort began Friday and lasted through the weekend. The work took longer than expected due to problems with humidity levels in the building, according to the EPA. Higher levels are required for the chemical to work effectively.

Cleanup teams were removing spore test strips from the building, Browne said, adding that evaluation of the strips would determine how effective the cleansing process has been.

The results are expected in about a week. The EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will use the evaluations in deciding any further actions.




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