Corey Bailey
Audio Engineering
MOLD Mold is actually a fungus which propagates by airborne spores that attach themselves to a surface and then start multiplying. There several types of mold, some are harmless, beneficial actually (Penicillin is made from 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 almost impossible to remove. When the environmental conditions are right, mold can quadruple in area in as little as 24 to 48 hours. According to a Harvard University School of Public Health study, over 50% of our homes have indoor mold. 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. Use the internet as a learning tool. If you want to learn more about mold, here is a good place to start; 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. What about recordings? Records and audio tapes of all types are subject to mold. Cardboard containers, record jackets and sleeves are especially vulnerable and very difficult to decontaminate. I usually replace the sleeves. I've treated several collections for mold and here's the mold remediation process that I use; I normally use white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide. You can also use a strong solution of isopropyl alcohol and use the strongest solution that you can find. However, there is some information that alcohol is not the best chemical to use. After assessing the situation, I decide which chemical is best to use. Hydrogen peroxide, won’t mix with vinegar and any kind of alcohol solution will damage acetate base audio tapes, some 78 RPM and lacquer records. White vinegar is generally best on anything paper or cardboard because it will get down to the roots. Use the strongest white vinegar solution that 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 a filtered, 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. The one exception is 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 inspected, 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, (unless I’m using Hydrogen peroxide) 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 denatured alcohol or, at least, 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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