NEWARK, Oct. 30

WHAT: Norman Van Houten, Ph.D., chief of the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) Hazardous Materials Response team since 1991, suggests easy-to-follow steps on opening mail at home or in the office.

HOW: Wearing standard latex gloves carry the mail to a well-ventilated area. If the mail appears safe, open it. Then, take one hand, reach across and pull off the other glove so it turns inside out. Take off the remaining glove, while holding the first glove in your palm, by pulling the second glove inside out over the first glove. When done, both gloves should be rolled up together.

Wash the gloves with detergent in a dish. "If you want to be careful, use a solution of ten percent bleach to 90 percent water to disinfect the gloves. No bacteria like anthrax can live in chlorine," says Van Houten. When done, untangle the gloves and disinfect your hands with a standard anti-bacterial soap, commercial hand wipe, or gel cleaner. Van Houten does not advocate using a respirator or mask. "Most people are unfamiliar with how to wear one. If you don't put it on properly, it won't work," he says.

WHO: Norman Van Houten, Ph.D. has been the director of health and environmental safety for NJIT since 1987, specializing in environmental toxicology and emergency response preparedness. A long time Edison resident, Van Houten is a former police officer, fire fighter and emergency medical technician. He was the division coordinator for the Middlesex County Office of Emergency Management from 1986 to 1997. Van Houten is a consultant to federal, local and state law enforcement agencies.

WHERE: Contact the NJIT public relations office at 973-596-3436 for telephone or in-person interviews with Van Houten.


NJIT is a public, scientific and technological research university enrolling more than 8,800 students. The university offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees to students in 80 degree programs throughout its six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, New Jersey School of Architecture, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, Albert Dorman Honors College and College of Computing Sciences. The division of continuing professional education offers adults eLearning, off campus degrees and short courses. Expertise and research initiatives include architecture and building science, applied mathematics, biomedical engineering, environmental engineering and science, information technology, manufacturing, materials, microelectronics, multimedia, telecommunications, transportation and solar astrophysics. Yahoo! Internet Life magazine cites NJIT as a “perennially most wired” university.

Contact Information:   Sheryl Weinstein
Robert Florida
Public Relations 
(973) 596-3433