How Many Languages Does The U.S Use For Government Documents Not All Paper Shredders Are Created Equal

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Not All Paper Shredders Are Created Equal

Not all paper shredders are the same. You may have discovered this in your life through personal experience or maybe you learned this while shopping online. Paper shredders are available in a wide variety of cutting formats. These cutting formats are referred to in the shredder industry as safety levels, which have been designated by the Deutsche Industrial Norm as DIN 32757.

Many people are aware of the fact that there are cut and cross cut paper shredders. One cuts the paper into thin strips and the other cuts the paper into “confetti-like” particles. Strip-cut shredders usually cut paper into ¼-inch or 1/8-inch strips. Cross-cut shredders are available in literally dozens of different cut sizes.

The larger the size, the easier it is to assemble a document. The US government learned this the hard way in 1979 after the US embassy was overrun in Iran. The US embassy used only strip-cut shredders to destroy high-security and high-security documents. Needless to say, the Iranians were able to assemble the documents cut into strips with the help of some experienced basket makers.

The United States Government learned a lesson from that experience. The United States Government now only uses cross shredders with a security level of 5 or 6. The end result is tiny particles and dust that cannot be reassembled. The higher the security level, the safer the cut.

There are advantages and disadvantages to using a higher security paper shredder. The higher the security level, the smaller the cut. Although this is nice for safety, the shredder blades cannot handle as much paper at a time. Most companies find a happy medium with a security level of 3 or 4. This allows companies to always get a good safe cut while still being able to crush a lot of paper.

Security level 1 paper shredders are the least secure cut in the DIN 32757 security level scale. These shredders cut paper into 3/8 inch (10.5 mm) or 3/8 inch x 1 ½ inch strips to 3 1/8 inch (10.5 mm x 40-80 mm) cross-cut particles. This is about the same level of security you would have if you were to cut a document with scissors. Few shredders are built to this low safety level anymore.

The highest level of security is a level 6. These types of paper shredders cut documents into particles of 1/32-inch by 5/32-inch (1mm x 4-5mm) or smaller. Security level 6 is not an officially accepted security level from the Deutsche Industrial Standard DIN 32757 and was created by the United States Government.

Using any paper shredder is always better than none, but make sure your paper shredder is security level 3 or higher to keep your sensitive information safe.

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