Workplace issues

Chemical and biological hazards

USPS Biohazard Detection System (BDS)

What is BDS?

BDS stands for biohazard detection system. It is a proven technology designed exclusively for the Postal Service. The BDS uses sophisticated DNA matching to detect the presence of anthrax (Bacillus anthracis) in the mail. It will continuously test air samples from mail canceling equipment. The BDS unit consists of an air-collection hood, a cabinet where the collection and analysis devices are housed, a local computer network connection, and a site controller—a networked computer.

How does BDS work?

All the BDS processes are automated. The equipment collects samples of air as the mail moves through a canceling machine. It absorbs the airborne particles into a sterile water base. This creates a liquid sample that can be tested. The liquid sample is injected into a cartridge, and the automated test for a DNA match is performed.

Has the BDS been tested?

The Executive Office of the President's Office of Science and Technology Policy created an interagency working group that reviewed the performance of the BDS and confirmed with heir own tests that the BDS is consistent with the state of the art laboratory-based detection systems and is sufficient to perform the task stipulated by the Postal Service. Agencies and offices that evaluated the BDS design included:

More Information on the Biohazard Detection System