Mold problem

Doug Rice drice at vines.colostate.edu
Tue Nov 26 10:49:31 EST 1996


In article <scenick-2511962102250001 at w261-07.warwick.net> scenick at warwick.net writes:
>From: scenick at warwick.net
>Subject: Mold problem
>Date: Mon, 25 Nov 1996 21:02:24 -0500

>To whom it may concern,

>I am looking for information concerning prevention and removal of mold.
>At the Metropolitan Opera we store scenery in 40 foot containers,
>sometimes for several years before needing them again.  The scenery is
>made up mainly of wood, plywood, and canvas.  At certain times when the
>container is opened we find that the pieces of the show are covered or
>deteriorated by mold. A lab has studied these molds and found,
>Aspergillus versicolor, penicillium, and Sporothrix, with a count of 15
>- 19,000,000 cfu/g.

>My question is two-fold. Is there a paint additive or other source to
>prevent this from happening in the first place, and is there a substance
>that will remove the mold from the existing scenery wich has been
>infected, which is not harmful to the employees doing the work?

>If you cannot help me in this, would you know someone who may know the
>answer?

>       Thank-you for your time,
>        Nicholas Doumanoff

Good Morning Nicholas:
There are paint additives that will prevent (inhibit not eliminate) the growth 
of mold.  I added it to the interior paint when I did my house.  I would check 
your local hardware or paint dealer.

A better method of prevention is to eliminate moisture from the storage 
containers.  Mold will not grow if there is less than ~70% rel. humidity.  Try 
adding a dessicant such as silica gel or Drierite to the storage boxes.

Finally, removing the mold will be quite a challenge.  First, A. versicolor is 
VERY toxigenic.  Do not allow your team to work on these without respiratory 
protection.  Most of the chemicals that will remove mold will also remove the 
paint from the sets.  The easiest to use will be bleach (sodium hypochlorite) 
or bleach with a surfactant such as Tiles or another mildew remover.

Good luck, hope I have been of some assistance.
Doug


Douglas A. Rice
CSU-Environmental Quality Laboratory Director
Applied microbiology of food, air, water and soil.
drice at vines.colostate.edu
voice:  (970) 491-6503
"Moderation is for Monks, take big bites out of life."
--Lazarus



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