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February 9, 1976  
Release # 76-011

CPSC Warns About Possible Anthrax Contamination In Imported Yarn

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Feb. 9) -- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in cooperation with Creative Handweavers, Inc., of Los Angeles, California, today warned consumers that they have found skeins of yarn containing animal hair or wool that may be contaminated with anthrax spores. Approximately 15,000 pounds of this affected yarn have been distributed nationwide.

The hand-spun yarn, imported from Pakistan and distributed nationwide, utilizes animal materials and retails for between $1 and $2 per skein, and has been imported by Creative Handweavers, Inc., Los Angeles, California, from Safraz Brothers, Lahore, Pakistan. The types of hand-spun yarn include: gray goat; black goat; white goat; white goat/camel; gray goat/ camel; black goat/camel; and 100% camel. The skeins bear no label.

The Commission learned of the contamination by the death of a 31-year-old weaver in Morro Bay, California, in late January. Yarn obtained from Creative Handweavers was found in the weaver's home.

According to Commission investigators, the contaminated yarn appeared to have been offered for sale through many retail outlets over the last year. Some may have been sold by mail order.

Consumers who own this yarn should seal the yarn or products made from it in an airtight double plastic bag and call a local or state health department for disposal instructions. Consumers should not attempt to sterilize the yarn, incinerate it, or throw it away because of the risk of further contamination.

Anthrax is an acute bacterial disease which can be fatal for humans if untreated. It can be transmitted from a product bearing the anthrax spores mainly through skin contact and in rare circumstances through inhalation.

Anthrax infection is not contagious from one person to another. While risk of dangerous human infection is low, the disease can be quite serious. The disease may start with a blister and can develop into a depressed area of dead tissue with a dark crust. Fever and other symptoms may not appear until the disease is severe.

This warning is being issued in the interest of the public health and safety and in conjunction with the Center for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia.

The Commission is continuing its investigations to determine whether the contaminated yarn has been sold to other importers. For further information, contact the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission toll-free hotline at 800/638-2772.

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