Corey Bailey
Audio Engineering
MOLD Mold is actually a fungus which propagates by the airborne spores attaching themselves to a surface and then multiplying. There several types of mold, some are actually harmless, beneficial actually, (Penicillin is a mold) and some are poisonous and very bad for you. It’s best to know which is which because once mold begins to develop it's very difficult, almost impossible to remove. According to a Harvard University School of Public Health study; over 50% of our homes have indoor mold. And once you have mold spores, it’s incredibly easy for those spores to latch on to a moist surface and multiply. That leaves several million families vulnerable to the possible health effects of indoor mold: Watery or itchy eyes Sore throat Congestion Coughing Skin irritation Asthma Respiratory problems (Mold can lead to upper respiratory illness). In fact, a study at the University of Arizona suggests that mold spores are a suspected cause in the tripling of the asthma rate in the past 20 years. By knowing the facts and all about mold, you can keep your home and family, safe and healthy. Some health fears are real, ranging from mild reactions to acute neurological disorders. Mold can be especially serious for allergy sufferers, small children and pets. If you have the Internet available, use it as a learning tool. If you want to learn more about mold, here is a good place to start: What about recordings? Records and audio tapes (all types) are subject to mold. Cardboard containers, record jackets and sleeves are especially vulnerable and very difficult to decontaminate. I usually replace the paper sleeves. I've treated several collections for mold and here's the mold remediation process that I use; I normally use white vinegar, denatured alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. After assessing the situation, I decide which chemical compound is best to use. Hydrogen peroxide, won’t mix with vinegar and any kind of alcohol will damage acetate base audio tapes. White vinegar is generally best on anything paper or cardboard because it will get down to the roots. Use the strongest vinegar solution you can get because you have to get the cardboard jacket or paper sleeve as wet as you dare. Don’t rub cardboard or paper items once they are wet! The remediation process that I use is completed outdoors because I don't have a clean room with an air evacuated bench. I usually suit up completely in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and wear an N95 respirator. I spray the items with the chosen solution and set them in the sun to dry. All of the items to be remediated are turned at least once while drying in the sun. This is done about four times over the course of a week. Ultraviolet light works well indoors, if you have an air evacuated workbench. I haven't used ultraviolet light outdoors to augment sunlight. Then, while suited up completely (once again) and wearing a respirator, I treat the items a second time. Because I'm anal about mold, I use disposable PPE and dispose of it after one use, except for the respirator, which gets rinsed with 91% isopropyl alcohol and I change the filters after every use. Reel-to-reel tapes are wound from one reel to another, one at a time, using a 8mm film editor that I have modified. While being transferred, the tape is wiped, on both sides, with a cloth soaked in whatever solution that I am using. The original reel is then soaked in denatured alcohol, dried and the tape is rewound while being wiped (a second time) with another clean cloth that is soaked in the solution. The cardboard tape box is sprayed again with white vinegar, before the reel of tape is placed in it, and the whole thing is set indoors to dry. After about 2 days, the tapes and boxes are checked for any signs of mold. If there is none, I'm finished. For cassette based media, I use transports that I have modified so that I can access the tape. Sometimes, taking the cassette apart is best. Otherwise, the procedure is the same. At the end of the day, all equipment, including the work surfaces, are sprayed with 91% isopropyl alcohol. The procedure is also listed in the article: "The Ken Slater Tapes." So, if you can see it, obviously you have an infestation and if you can smell it, it's everywhere because traveling the air currents is one of the ways that mold spores propagate. Please contact me with any questions or corrections. Return to TOP of page © Corey Bailey Audio Engineering
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