Bea Riemschneider, Editorial Director
MaryBeth DiDonna, Editor
Editorial Advisory Board
Charles W. Berndt, C. W. Berndt Associates Ltd.
Adam Giandomenico, Particles Plus Inc.
Scott Mackler, Cleanroom Consulting LLC
Gregg A. Mosley, Biotest Laboratories Inc.
Robert Nightingale, Cleanroom Garments
Bipin Parekh, Ph. D., Entegris Inc.
Michael Rataj, Aramark Cleanroom Services
Howard Siegerman, Ph. D., Siegerman and Associates LLC
Scott Sutton, Ph. D., Microbiology Network Inc.
Art Vellutato, Jr., Veltek Associates Inc.
Bob Vermillion, CPP/Fello w, RMV Technology Group LLC
ADVAN TAGE BUSINESS MEDIA
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Chief Financial O;cer/Chief Operating O;cer
Chief Content O;cer
ADVAN TAGE BUISNESS MEDIA, LLC
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Phone: 973-920-7000; Fax: 973-920-7541
Vol. 19 • No. 5
Breaking Out of the Mold
The recent, devastating floods in Louisiana have left their mark on the region, and it’s going to be a long time before things are anywhere close to “normal” again. Lives have been lost. Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes, which — along with schools, houses
of worship, stores, cars, and countless other things — have
suffered extensive damage, perhaps beyond repair. Many didn’t
have flood insurance, especially in areas where flooding wasn’t
typical. A meteorologist from the National Weather Service
commented that these devastating storms could be a “once in
500 years” type of event, and one news publication calculated that the total amount
of rainfall over a four-day period could almost cover the height of the White House.
For now, people affected by the terrible floods are staying with loved ones or in
shelters while emergency crews look for survivors and salvage whatever materials
and properties they can. Some residents have been allowed back into their homes to
collect their belongings and begin the cleanup process.
In addition to all of this difficult, heartbreaking work, these people are faced with
another pressing concern — mold.
Now, sometimes mold can be a good thing. Mold led to the discovery of life-sav-
ing penicillin. It’s used to make delicious cheeses. Mold is, as the cartoon sitcom The
Simpsons once described it, “science fair pay dirt.”
But mold is also a contaminant. Mold spores grow rapidly in damp environments,
such as flooded homes, and can create a host of problems — allergy-like symptoms,
skin and eye irritation, wheezing, upper respiratory issues, and coughing. And that’s
just what a mild case of mold and short-term exposure can do. Long-term exposure
to heavy cases of mold can result in serious health problems, and it can be over-
whelming and even deadly to infants and the elderly. People with asthma and com-
promised immune systems will be in great danger if exposed to mold, and extensive
mold contamination can compromise the structural integrity of a building.
Mold can also wreak havoc in a laboratory environment. A Controlled
Environments article, “Control Strategies For Fungal Contamination In Cleanrooms”
( http://bit.ly/2bBXzSs), points out that mold and other contaminants such as fungus
can be tracked into a cleanroom by shoes, carts, and other kinds of equipment. One
example in the article was a contaminant growing inside a marker cap, of all places!
Mold can cause microbial excursion issues, which result in adverse impacts on production, meaning lost product and money.
When dealing with mold contamination, it’s imperative to choose the proper
cleaning method and product. Not all disinfectants are equal, remember. An aggressive sporicidal agent may be necessary to control contamination, and a broad spectrum disinfectant may need to be used on top of that. Suspension tests and carrier
tests may be used in order to determine the right kind of cleanser to rid a facility of
mold. Seasonal variations need to be taken into consideration. And, of course, the
specific mold strain must be identified before choosing the appropriate disinfectant
method, otherwise it’s all for naught.