Making Sick Buildings Well Through Chemistry

May 22, 2000
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If you build a better chemical treatment, will bacteria, mold, and fungi beat a path away from your door? That’s the idea behind Don Isoldi’s assault on Sick Building Syndrome (SBS).

Isoldi, president of Polymer Technics, Inc., West Melbourne, FL, is a polymer chemist who has developed several products to combat SBS. The cornerstone of his treatment system is a product called “T.R. Bio Klean,” an EPA-registered water treatment.

What this means, explained Isoldi, is that the EPA verifies that the product “does exactly what we say it does.” Although he is a holder of 25 patents, this is a proprietary product, keeping his formulation secret.

The treatment was developed to control microbial growth in air conditioning systems. Since condensate drain pans can grow mold, algae, fungus, and microorganisms which cause overflows due to slime buildup, T.R Bio Klean was developed to place in the pan and provide a water-activated, broad-spectrum biocide to kill and prevent these growths.

In addition to being a biocide, the product simultaneously releases a surfactant for cleaning, a corrosion inhibitor to keep the pan from rusting, and an odor counteractant.

Polymer Sock

The active ingredients in the product are encapsulated in a polymer-based sock or strip which provides a time-release reaction.

The chemicals are “released only when in contact with water,” said Isoldi. The product lies dormant whenever there is no water in the drain pan. This wet/dry process can be repeated over and over with no effect on the treatment’s effectiveness, he said.

The product treats the drain line as well as the pan to prevent overflows.

The time-release technology can provide protection for three to six months. It is recommended that the product be replaced quarterly in commercial applications.

When all of the active ingredients have been released, the remaining solid is a white, inactive polymer that can be “disposed of in any landfill,” Isoldi stated. The polymer is the same type of material “used in soft contact lenses.”

The chemical socks and strips come in several sizes. If a particular application should need a higher concentration, “you just put multiple strips in,” said Isoldi.

Besides air conditioner drain pans, this chemical treatment can also be used in refrigerator drain pans, humidifier or dehumidifier water tanks, or other nonpotable, water-retention areas.

Putting On a Coat

Other products in this family include “Klean Koat #1,” a liquid coil coating that provides a clear, non-tacky, water-based, acrylic-polymer finish that acts as an anti-foulant to prevent the growth and spread of microorganisms.

Another product is “Bio Spray,” a “liquid spray used to coat filters and ductwork to stop mold and mildew,” Isoldi said.

He is also taking on other bacterial threats as well. He has done some experimental work on cooling towers, putting the biocide into 1-lb plastic, perforated cylinders to place in the towers to combat Legionella bacteria, which are “very prevalent in these systems,” Isoldi noted. The biocide also controls other microbial growths.

In cooling towers, how long the treatment will last depends on the circulation of the water and how hot the water is. Isoldi related that on average, the biocide will last about a month in these systems.

He also has a special formula that can kill listeria. Any different formulation, however, would require a new EPA approval.

And since the product is contained in a sock, strip, or container, it is safe for employees to handle, added Isoldi.

All cooling units extract water from the air that can potentially cause bacteria, corrosion, and odor problems. T.R. Bio Klean directly addresses these concerns in its attempt to win the battle against Sick Building Syndrome and serious bacterial illnesses.

For more information, Isoldi can be contacted at 407-768-1192 (phone and fax).

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