Sasha Laferte: Hi everyone and welcome to today's webinar on step by step lab decontamination. My name is Sasha and I will be your moderator for today. Before we get started, I just want to give you a brief overview on what today's webinar is going to entail as well as a short introduction for our speaker today.
Today's webinar will start with a slideshow presentation by our in house expert, John Wright. This webinar will give you an expert insight to try lab decontamination process. During this webinar, you'll learn the difference between the types of lab decontaminations, which one makes most sense for you, why and how to execute. This webinar will give you tentacle step by step instructions to completing your lab decontamination thoroughly, cost effectively, and safely.
At the end of this webinar, there'll be an open Q & A. You can ask questions by typing them in to your chat ping on the right where it says, "Questions". Again, that's on the right where it says, "Questions". No need to raise your hand or anything like that. You can just type them right in. If you want to ask questions during the presentation, that's fine and I'll get to them at the end.
All unanswered questions will be answered and sent out in an email after the presentation. In addition to the questions, all attendees will receive a recording of the presentation and a copy of the slide that used today.
Today's speaker, John Wright, has been a Field Services Supervisor at Triumvirate Environmental for the past three years. He specializes in lab related projects. He has over 17 years of related field experience and has managed numerous lab decontamination projects varying scales and scopes. With that, I'm going to turn it over to you, John.
John Wright: Thank you, Sasha. Good afternoon, everyone! I hope your day is going as planned. I'd like to thank you for taking the time to join our webinar for choosing the correct lab decontamination for your project and how to implement it successfully. This is a very tricky situation as to every lab decontamination is different whether the chemicals used or whether bio, or if radiation was involved.
Who is this for? Schools and universities, whether you have new incoming students, maybe professors or professor turn over, so that we can clean the labs. So that the next set of students that come in all experiments can be started new. And we don't have to worry about any contamination of any kind due to previous or past experiments or whatever testing was happening.
A lab move, whether it's changing locations from one area to the building to the next building area, or whether it's just changing bench locations, or possibly even changing buildings all in all. You want to make sure that the lab has been decontaminated before you move in to, as well as making sure that the lab that you are moving from has been decontaminated.
And lastly, is lab decommissioning which involves lab closures. Lab closures are very restrictive in a way that they're done according to the lease contract from whomever you're renting or leasing the building from and they'll have specific directions for how they want it decontaminated as well as basic steps on how to approach the decontamination structure.
Just to get this presentation started just a little bit, with Sasha talked about a poll question. We'd like to have you replied to it to see if you're thinking in the near future or maybe if you're needing a lab decontamination now as to where something we can help you with and hopefully this presentation will answer any questions that you may have or any concerns that you may have and hopefully, help you decide what kind of decontamination you need.
As we get started, what will you learn today? Hopefully, I can help you learn how to identify lab hazards and determine how they're important to your lab decontamination. Lab hazards range from various things from chemicals that were used in the laboratories to any experiments, sharps, broken needles, anything that maybe around that could be around that can be a hazardous waste, anything that may cause a problem.
Secondly, we're going to talk about which decontamination procedure's right for you. There's a sheet that we fill out that well, actually we asked you to fill out, to go in any historical use in your lab for any chemicals that the professors or students were aware of that they were using. As well as keeping an active list of chemicals that are on sight now, how you're using them, maybe the experiments that you're using. If you have a BL1, BL2 lab, or if radiation is being used now or was ever present in your lab.
Lastly, what paperwork needs to be completed as part of your decontamination. This is a very important part of considering the decontamination that’s completed. What this covers is, as we do a walkthrough of the lab and we get to our list back as far as historical use in the lab, from chemicals, the bio, or the radiation, we determine based upon at what we're going to do to correctly decontaminate your lab.
When we walkthrough, when we finish the decontamination cleaning, what we have is a list that it entails what was decontaminated, what was used to decontaminate it, and if it was a bench, a floor, if it were walls that were splitting down, your fume hoods, your floor, everything is listed on this sheet as well as the chemical that is used. So that when the supervisor goes through, he can check off all of these, make sure it's correctly done.
When a project manager will walkthrough and do a second check, and then at the end of the entire project we’ll walkthrough with the client, whomever it may be and they'll sign off on the paper work. This gives you a record for you to keep as to how the lab was decontaminated and which product was used to complete that.
A few things you might be thinking. How do I know the correct decontamination procedure was chosen? Once again, we talked about, just a few minutes ago, a little bit about the questionnaire. The questionnaire is a very important part of this cross test to know what was used historically in that lab area as well as what's being actively used. One of the more important things is this kind of helps you keep control of the chemicals that are there. You definitely can't control the ones that were used historically but it gives you a good idea of what kind, if it's a chemical, a bio, and if there was radiation that can allow us to set up the screening and sampling process so that we use the correct cleaners.
Who should I trust to complete this safely and compliantly? Depending upon your need and how your lab spaces are, the most important thing is to make sure that whomever you decide to have complete this decontamination for you, is someone who has experience in doing them safely and compliantly. Maybe on the same level as your decontamination that you need for a chemical, or a bio, and someone that just has a proven track record that they can do this.
How do I know the decontamination is completed properly? Once again, I touched on this a little bit. Earlier when we first started, the most important thing at the end of a laboratory decontamination is making sure that you have all the paperwork that's posted on the door as well as the copy for yourself so that you know exactly what chemicals were used and exactly which areas were cleaned which should include your benches, your drawers, your fume hoods, any flammable cabinets or refrigerators, anything that you're not taking or that is staying in that area to make sure that they were decontaminated.
This is how I see that we’re different, you hear various things and there’s various ways to when you're listening to someone say something, as to how they completed their job or how they've done their job. Few things that I've heard and probably maybe even some of you have heard in your experiences with having your labs decon, if you have in the past is, “We have wiped and cleaned all surfaces.” This is great but what did you wipe them with? How did you clean them? How can you tell me that the contamination has been removed sufficiently?
What I would like to hear people say instead is, "We have removed all contaminants from the lab surfaces." And what this refers to sounds like someone who's done their work, who understand what needs to be done, and exactly what was needed to completely remove all the contaminants from the surfaces.
Secondly, we've removed all trash and chemicals. Did you containerize the trash? Where did you move the chemicals? Did you put them in the proper receptacles? Were they stored properly? Were they moved properly? What happened?
better way of saying that is we have containerized all wasted chemicals for proper disposal or move. A lot of the times when laboratory decontamination has started, it comes in the walk through you see what the chemicals are. And during that time, a lot of things are lab packed, moved for you, or maybe you even have you own in house individuals who will move the chemicals out of the labs.
Thirdly, we have completed the lab cleaning. You've completed it but what've you done? What I would like to see is we have completed all paper work for the lab decontamination and the job is complete. And that, once again, goes back to the papers. Very important to have a paper trail in case something should happen so that you know that your lab has been correctly decontaminated and that the process used was the correct process as well as you know each area in the lab, how it was cleaned, and what was used to remove the contaminants.
A little bit of an overview for this afternoon is we're going to talk a little bit about identifying chemicals used as well as what the lab was used for. Once again, it's very important to keep your list of chemicals. This is very helpful during the walkthroughs as we can see the chemicals that are there before they were moved, that gives us an idea of where we want to start at. But the sheet, the pre-questionnaire before the lab decontamination is also very important so we can know what the historical use of is in that lab.
Second, determine the surface cleaner for each decontamination. There's lots of surface cleaners that you can use for decontamination depending upon if it's chemical. If it's chemical, it could be just as something as simple as heavy duty soapy cleaner. Something that can remove, maybe oil, maybe the chemicals, but if you're going in to bio, you might want to look in alcohol, Lysol, there's bleach.
There's different ways to approach each area of the lab. Each area is not the same. We may clean one area in one way, and another area the other way just depending upon what was used in that specific location.
Lastly, ensure all hazards are removed. When we talk about hazards we find broken glass, maybe some beakers, or vials. Vials are known to move around quite often. They can slide under benches, behind them, in fume hoods, behind the back holes in fume hoods, possibly even in cup drops in fume hoods. It's very important to make sure that you your due diligence and actively look, and make sure that all of these hazards have been removed before the lab decontamination has been completed.
Once again, our key message, that was a little bit of an intro to choose the correct lab decontamination for your project and implement it successfully. And again, I hope that some of the information I've given you so far has been useful and I hope that this quite some of the questions you may have or some of the concerns can be answered throughout the process itself as we go through this presentation.
Step one, we'll talk a little bit about identifying the chemicals used as well as what the lab was used for. Once again, just to keep you thinking about some of the things that you need to do before considering setting up your lab decontamination as far as your chemical uses, maybe actively keeping a track of those and trying to remember written down what was used to historically in that lab space.
The first question, what was the lab used for? Was it used for chemicals? Did you have caustics? Did you have acids? Everything will need a different kind of cleaner to completely decontaminate. And again, what chemicals were used? This list as you can tell by me repeating it, this list is very important information to keep track of so that you'll always know what's being used in your laboratories as well as what's going out of your laboratories and being able maybe possibly even help you control some of the issues that you have.
Was there any bio or radiation? Very important, again as we spoke about earlier, the bio is a complete different cleaning process, complete different personal protective equipment. And then radiation is something that we kind of need a third party to get involved in to just to be able to do sampling and testing just to ensure that there's no radiation left on sight or in your rooms.
I put up a few pictures just to take a look. You labs may look like this or they may not look like this. Labs are completely different everywhere you go. As you go into trying to decide how we want to decontaminate this lab on the left hand picture, you see some bottles marked with whatever chemicals are in them. You have boxes up top. You have a small refrigerator in the bottom. What's in the refrigerator? Is there anything still there? What was in the refrigerator? What was the equipment used for?
These are all things that we look at when we do our pre walk before the decontamination actually starts. Now, your picture on the right hand side has a few important things in it also as you can see, the refrigerator to the bottom left. But you also see tape on the drawers, you see tape on the bench top itself, and you see what looks like white powdery substance on the front of the bench. Then you have your chemicals that looks like they're segregated well and stored with compatibility but one of the most important things to take our of this picture is the tape on the bench and the drawers themselves.
Was this lab completely decontaminated? Were those surfaces cleaned before the tape was affixed? Or could there have been some decontamination that happened on the lab bench itself as well as on the drawers and somebody stuck tape over? It's very important to remember to remove tape off of these bench tops and off your drawers so that that area can be completely cleaned as well.
As we talked about a few minutes ago, any radiation used areas need to be screened and cleared before the decontamination starts. What this is a simple to look at the correct PPE that we need to be in that eliminates the hazards for the people that are coming in to do the lab decontamination. As well as insuring that any radiation that was used is no longer there or is no longer showing up.
If we go to a radiation room which has been sampled the protocol basically, is the green small sticker was they put on it to say, "Yeah. We've sampled this section." That gives us the know besides the paperwork from the clients themselves, and also lets us know that this important step has been performed so we can go about and use an industrial soap solution and decontaminate anything else that may be on those surfaces.
Was there bio used? Again, this is another very important thing that you need to think about. Most bio labs are marked but what if you moved in to a location that possibly at one time was a bio lab whether BL1, BL2, BL3 or whatever it may have been. How do you know that that area was completely decontaminated before you moved in that may say so on the paper but do you have any actual evidence of that happening?
What happens is, this makes the cleaning process a little more in depth because there's so much to go through just to figure out the exact thing that we need to do to make sure that this lab area or areas has been completely decontaminated.
Step two, let's talk a little bit about determining the surface cleaner for each decontamination. There's various cleaners we spoken about here recently about what whether it was a chemical clean, a bio clean, and even though the radiation falls under basically, chemical clean after it's been scanned and after it's been sampled to insure that there's no radiation there, you could be talking about what kind of acids were in your room.
Was there any spills in that particular lab? What kind of caustics were used? And then you kind of get in to a little bit to determine if you have any acids, and you have acidic spills that you might want to take and get a look at it, pH it and then determine whether we need to use an acid neutralizer before actually cleaning the surface in order to get a pH that's correct.
It's the same thing for caustic. If you come across some caustic somewhere, you definitely want to take the caustic and use the caustic neutralizer on it just to insure that you're eliminating some of the hazards before you actually start the full scale lab decontamination. We would use caustic neutralizer on that to get the correct pH readings.
When we start thinking about a lab decon, and I've spoken with a lot of people over this it's a big step for anyone to take to decide that you need that lab decon because of all of the problems that could run into. But it's something that has to be done. It's something that you need to guarantee that your spaces are hazard free and there's no contamination everywhere.
If you look at this picture here, if we were to go in and look at this lab and try to figure out how are we going to decontaminate this space, if we once again didn’t go back and refer to the original pre-questionnaire where we asked about historical use for maybe some of the technicians, the professors, or anyone who worked in this lab and find out what chemicals were used historically as well as going back and talking to the last occupants of the lab space and finding out what they used so that we can tie it all together and do the decontamination properly with the proper cleaner.
Radiation area as I touched on a little bit earlier, probably a little too much before get to this slide was they need to definitely be screened and sampled for gamma, x-ray, beta, and alpha radiation. This is something that's very important to be done because it helps in the selection of one cleaner and it helps us select the proper PPE, Personal Protective Equipment, to use to safely complete the decontamination of the radiological area.
Once again, once the third party comes in and they do screening and sampling for radiation, what they'll do is place a small, green sticker in to the spot where they have done the testing and the sampling which are randomly picked and it lets us know that, hey, it's clear. We can go in. We can start this lab decontamination. We can our soap solution together and go in and wipe it down in to the floors and the walls.
When we start talking about doing a bio decontamination, we need to ask a few things. Was the bio present? Were there live cultures? Frozen cultures? What was the main area where these cultures were used? How far, if anywhere, did they go from the BL labs? Somebody move, walk, forget they have something, walk out.
We kind of need to make sure that we check and get all the information we can as to what was used and what kind of experiments or practices were going on in this bio lab. Because once again, when you start talking about a cleaner for a bio lab, you're not going to use just a regular industrial straight soap solution or you're not going to use just any old solution at all. You're going to have to go with Lysol, possibly chlorine, bleach, DZ-7. What's this? A biological killer that is a common cleaner that's used to remove. And also maybe you have to use some ethanol, isopropanol alcohols to remove any of the contamination that maybe left there.
As we take a look at the inside of a little fume hood here, what was the use? Only chemical or the acid you used, whether caustic you used. This is again, we can see some of the chemicals that are in there now. Also we see some powdery substance down the right hand bottom corner underneath the way end underneath the cup. We need to try to determine what this is and how it affects the decontamination procedures as far as finding the proper way to correctly decontaminate it.
As you can see as we're talking and moving along, these lab decons can definitely become something bigger than what you had originally thought. There's a little bit of a process to go in to it and help cover yourself so that you can be aware of these lab usages as well as what has been used in the labs in the past.
I put a couple of pictures of fume hoods here. The one on the left that you're looking at is very important when we clean a fume hood. We can see the chemicals that are already in there which is fine. We can handle that if they’re there. We know what to do with them. We know more likely what was used in that fume hood. But it's the things that we can't see. And the things that we can't see is behind the baffled section in back.
Is there anything that's back there? Chemical, are there rags that are back there? Are there any powdery substances? What exactly is back there sharps? You practice when you have your lab decontaminated is to actually go ahead and remove those back baffles so that they can be completely cleaned and decontaminated as well because you want to make sure that all the equipment that's staying is completely certified clean as well as these fume hoods.
The picture in the upper right hand corner is obviously an older fume hood. So many of you probably have seen them in some of the labs you've been in or maybe you’re still actively are using a fume hood like this. Once again, it's fine. We can see the vials. We can see everything that is in that fume hood right now. But the thing that we can’t see, that we talked about, is the baffles on this. But this begs to bring up another questions.
This fume hood on the right hand corner picture, those are asbestos containing panels. The problem with asbestos containing panels are, a lot of the times since they're so old they're not easily removed. If you go through and you want somebody to remove them, I would suggest you don't have someone remove them.
The problem is, when you're taking these panels out, some of the screws that hold them in, they can be cracking and the asbestos panels from where it was screwed in too tight. Even pulling and removing these panels, you can get into a situation where you're actually can crack these panels and then you have a secondary problem. Not only are your decontaminating a lab, but you're setting up on abatement in order to process and get rid of the asbestos that is now been placed in the area.
Now granted that as long as there's no cracks and there's no openings, the asbestos is fine. But once it gets cracked and the friables get in to the air and you have an issue where you need to call in someone and you need to do an abatement and actually physically remove every piece of baffling panels, anything that's involved with the asbestos completely moving out and dispose of it.
Step three we're going to talk a little bit about ensuring all hazards are removed. Once again, it's very important that this is just a second and the third step that you need to take once you started your lab decontamination. You're automatically going to start removing hazards. And you're going to continue to remove hazards so that decontamination has been completed.
But in the past, it's more about after your lab decontamination has been completed to do that second walkthrough. Maybe that third walkthrough just to ensure that nothing got left behind as far as something rolling under a fume hood or something to that effect.
Our action plan. Another big thing is to make sure that we checked all the drawers. All the drawers underneath the benches, everybody knows that you can stuff stuff in drawers and if you overstuff it, you're going to have stuff all behind. It's very important that when you're checking these drawers and you're cleaning them thoroughly to remove the contamination that you actually pull them completely.
How, you clean the sliding reels, you clean the handles, plus this gives you a view in to the back where if any debris chemicals, any sharps, anything has fallen that you can actually get in and clean and remove those hazards and then replace your drawers and you know that area has been decontaminated.
Another important place to check is behind all you benches. Some benches in labs are against the wall but you have other benches, there may be a space that maybe a foot-wide space, maybe a crawl space that somebody can crawl through. This is another great area for things to fall, roll, get stuffed behind, maybe somebody leaves something behind. So it's imperative that you check all pipe runs and everything behind these benches just to make sure that all these hazards have been removed.
You could come across some situations where there maybe was some chemicals that were spilled and your tile floors, even behind your benches, can be contaminated and these tiles may need to be popped and replaced, or maybe you don’t want to replace them but at least the pop in the hazard has been removed. It's an important thing to consider.
Another areas check under all fume hoods. We all know that, as you store products in the cabinet under the fume hoods, the likelihood of something spilling, maybe a cap top not being tight or correctly put on, this could lead to a spill that could get underneath the fume hood itself. Most labs have a heavy duty walking, maybe make your life easier pad that you can stand on while you're working in the fume hoods.
You want to make sure that you pull those up and check the tiles. Check the bottom. Make sure that you see no evidence of any kind of spill and if you're going to do a lab decontamination, you're going to want to remove those pads anyway to ensure that they weren't placed there after that area had been contaminated.
Another picture to kind of take a look at. Have hazards been removed? Well, it looks like it's been cleaned up. There's a couple of things in the picture though that we may not all think about. All of these rubber clothes attachments that run from the sinks and runs from maybe your DI water or whatever you have it hooked up to, those should be completely removed also.
Now as you look towards the bottom and you see that two white buckets with the blue bucket directly behind it, you'll see the piping running from the sink out. Another very important part to check is that drain catch right there. A lot of them come off. You just twist them off and clean them.
But the main thing that you kind of want to inspect is mercury is an issue. What if someone had broken a thermometer and mistakenly put it by the sink and went down the drain, or someone carelessly pours something down the drain. It's very important that you use a Jerome to scan these areas because if you have mercury there, more likely we're going to need a check that through your piping and into your neutralization system just to ensure that contamination of mercury has not spread throughout your entire system.
Another thing that you may see under some of your sinks are little small five-gallon-bucket-looking limestone chip tanks. Those are another very important item that sometimes can hide and kind of get away from you. You need to make sure that the tops are removed off of those. They're unhooked from the system, taken out, the limestones definitely removed, cleaned, the top put back on and put back in line. But it should be left without limestone leave a bag full there to recharge if need be if the lab's going to be reused. But you want to make sure that's clean.
Another picture to kind of take a look at. Have all hazards been removed from behind the baffles and storage? Once again, we talked about the importance of removing the baffles because some of the things when the air is exchanging inside the fume hood itself, some things get stuck up in behind the baffles out into the vent and out through the system. As well as chemical vials, maybe mercury thermometers that were used in the past, chemicals could be spilled back in this area and just the total intake of the chemical that's being used in that hood.
When you take the baffles off, you want to remove the top baffle also so you can kind of reach up in there and do a little cleaning at the vent as well as the piping coming out from the top of the fume hood just so you see there's nothing that's caught up in there. Maybe a rag’s got sucked through and it’s caught there, I’ve seen scouring pads, various objects can get sucked through and caught there.
Another important thing is look beside the fume hoods on both sides. Look on top of the fume hoods as well as the best as you can behind it and once again we want to look underneath the storage cabinets to see if possible, there was a liquid spills, some sort of a chemical spill inside the fume hood itself or maybe at the bottom. There could have been a chemical spill that ran underneath the fume hood. Very important sections to take a look at.
I thank you for joining our key message again. I hope I answered some of your questions. We have a few more slides left to help you kind of choose and maybe kind of set up and think about what kind of lab decontamination that you're going to need in the future for your lab areas. Hopefully this was helpful.
I just want to talk a little bit about a large lab decontamination that has many areas of concern that may get missed. Some things are, as we talked about earlier, about the limestone chip tanks which lead into your neutralization system which more than likely is in the basement somewhere of your facility. I've seen them where they’re shared systems but I've seen where they’re just client specific systems.
We want to make sure that we also completely perform a lab decontamination on it. We want to make sure that we talked about the mercury possibly getting down. We're going to make sure we scan for mercury. We're going to look and see what kind of debris that is. We want to take the tops off if everything checks out with the pH levels on it then some of these stuff can be pushed out via the pipes using a pull.
And then what'll happen is, once that's been completely emptied, we will actually use a soap solution or maybe something for bio, bio's there, use Zep DZ-7, something to completely clean these tanks and take that cleaning and the rinse water and actually drum it up so that we can properly get rid of it for shipment.
There's a couple of different things that you need to look for in that neutralization system. Just another thing about these lab decons that are very important. I was involved with a big lab decommissioning. The professor was actually leaving and another professor was actually coming in to start up a new entire process where it was a magnetic. He used magnets. It just so happened that the professor before was doing metal testing and there was a lot of metal shavings which is a no, no. If you're going to do magnetic testing, you don't want metal shavings all over the place.
What we did was come in with hepa vac and we completely, from top to bottom, completely hepa vac the entire lab. And then we took the large magnets on the floors and up above into the pipe runs and the wire runs and actually use the magnet to try to pull up anything that was left after the hepa vac.
Needless to say, there's some areas that are tough to get to. There was some stuff left. We went back and perform the hepa vac again and then we use the magnets a second time and it all came out good. There's a lot of things that gets involved into making sure the lab has been decontaminated before it's turned over to someone else to use.
We're going to open this up for questions now and like I said, I hope this was helpful and if you have any questions, please feel free to send the questions in and I will answer to the best of my ability. And if you kind of stop me on something or get me on something, I will definitely get back to you and give you the answer that you're looking for.
Sasha: Right. Just a reminder, guys. You can type your questions into the question's pane on the right and if we don't have time for all of them, that's totally fine. We will send you answers via email afterwards. Feel free to ask any questions you have.
First question. Someone wants to know if there are any special steps if they'd used mercury in the lab.
John: Yes, there are some special steps that you need to take. First of all, most important thing is knowing that you have mercury, which is good because you have taken that extra step to kind of know what's been used in your lab. I think you should definitely scan all safe traps for any mercury and that involves making sure that you evacuate all water from the traps. Take them apart. Decontaminate them.
But I also recommend that you use a Jerome and test the areas from down below. Actually get on your hands and knees and take the Jerome around and scan in the corners, scan on equipment, scan on bench tops just to make sure that you're not getting any hits from mercury in the lab.
Sasha: Great. Thanks. Next question, someone says, "I have a few five-gallon chip tanks with limestone in them. Should these be cleaned?"
John: Definitely. We should definitely clean the chip tanks. The limestone is what actually is used as a neutralizer for the chemicals that are being in to the sink and to your neutralization system. You should definitely take it off right. You remove the lid. As I've said before, make sure that you remove the limestone out and you put them in the proper shipping container so that it can be shipped out. Once again, rinse out that entire chip tank and then put them back on line.
Sasha: All right. Thanks. It looks like we have a few people who raised their hands. Just to reiterate, you can type the questions directly into the questions pane. No need to raise your hand. I can moderate the questions one at a time for John. Alright, cool.
Next question. Someone wants to know about what lab equipment needs to be removed or disposed of during the decontamination.
John: Lab equipment. It's kind of important that if anything that you're going to be using that's going to be staying, we kind of walk through and talk about it so we know exactly what was used in it. But also, that doesn't need to be cleaned itself, we kind of ask you to remove it from the lab and then we will continue with the lab decontamination.
Sasha: Great. Someone wants to know if they should remove fume hood baffles for lab decontamination.
John: Definitely, you should always. I think you should follow the rule of thumb that you should definitely remove the fume hood baffles that we talked about. Those can get contaminated just as well as your air flow comes out. The another big thing about that is the restriction on your air flow to ensure that your fume hoods are working properly so the baffles should be removed and you should clean up into the vent as far as you can reach so that if there's any contaminants that can be taken care of.
Sasha: Great. Someone wants to know what they should do if the history of their lab is unknown.
John: The history of your lab is unknown. The best thing to do is, I would take some tests. I would do some samples. I would do some pH samples of the areas that you're having decontaminated. And I would maybe do some wipe samples.
I would look mainly and focus heavily on any areas that may be stained, that has some permeated staining. Maybe some areas where your bench tops are maybe cracked or there's a gap there, I would definitely do wipe samples on those and see if it comes back with any hits of anything. Hopefully, you can catch the areas that were hit. You can scan your whole lab.
Sasha: Great. Someone wants to know how long a lab decontamination should take.
John: Lab decontamination will vary in the time they take. First off, it all depends on the amount of bio cleaning we're doing, the amount of chemical cleaning, the radiation. How many rooms are you involving in this decon because the size of rooms can make a matter on the decon. How many benches are in your area that need to be decon? How many drawers do you have? What kind of decon are you doing? Making sure if there's any tape in the surfaces, you know, it’s very time consuming to remove all the tape.
How many fume hoods do you have? And how clean is your lab going to be before you start having someone in to come in and decontaminate it? I mean, are you going to have all your chemicals out? Are you going to have still things in there that individuals who are doing the decon are going to need to remove? I mean, I've done lab decons in as little as one day and I've done lab decons of whole building and complete areas that have taken up to 2 months. It all varies on size.
Sasha: All right. Thanks. Someone wants to know how do you verify a lab decontamination as effective like you do with radiological decontaminations.
John: What we do, we'll have a chemical hygienist we have on staff. We will call them in. They will actually come in. They will take pH sample of maybe any permeated staining. They will take wipe samples. They'll do sampling of all the areas and especially any area that was bio, or has any kind of permeated staining.
The clinical hygienist will come in and actually swab those and we can send those off to be tested and when the test comes back, it's going to tell you that it's either there or the decontamination was worked properly and all contaminants have been removed. That's a great question, though.
There's a lot of concern to make sure that everything has been efficiently and sufficiently removed in a lab decon. If you're going to have a lab decon, it's very important, I think, at the end to have that clinical hygienist come in and actually do the samples and the pH-ing of areas of any staining just to ensure you and it gives you a great paper trail to make anyone understand if this lab has been decontaminated properly.
Sasha: Thanks. The next question is, "What kind of chemical do you use to clean surfaces when only chemicals have been used?"
John: What we use is, we use another Zep product that's an industrial heavy soapy solution. And if it's just chemicals we'll wipe it down, we'll scrape any parts that need to be scraped, and once again after we finish that wipe down, it will dry, we will re-wipe it and then behind us in comes our clinical hygienist who will definitely take samples of the area and pH those areas to make sure that all chemical hazards have been removed appropriately.
Sasha: Great. The next question is, "Where can we find an industry standard decontamination questionnaire?"
John: It actually depends on the company that you use. A lot of companies probably have some form of their [51:30:07] in use for you as a questionnaire. But this is something that we consider our main practice. This is very helpful in showing that we know what was there and it helps the people attack it.
Anytime, when you go through a walk through before a lab decontamination has started with that with whoever you have chosen to come in and do that, one of the most important things maybe even if they don't have a questionnaire, they're going to ask you or they should ask you, "What was used in this area? What are you aware of that was used in this area?"
It's probably pretty easy for you to respond to the stuff that's being used there now and in recent memory but some of the things you got to think about is that historical stuff that could still be there. If I'm going to have someone for me do it, I would definitely start out and ask about the questionnaire because it helps you to insure that you've got the right person to decontaminate your lab because they're interested in what was used historically so if there's an issue, they can remove that but also what's being actively used in that lab.
Sasha: Great. They want to know if it's possible for you to send a sample questionnaire.
John: A sample questionnaire?
Sasha: Yeah. Via email.
John: Yes. I can definitely reach out and send one of our questionnaires and let you kind of look at it and see what's involved in it and some of the questions that we asked and some of the information that we like to obtain just to make sure that when this decontamination's over, you're as happy as we are with the job that we've done.
Sasha: Great. It looks like we only have one more question. We have a little bit of extra time so if anybody has another question, we definitely have time for that. Feel free to ask. As of now, the last question is, "What if you don't have good historical data of what was used in the lab? How does that change decontamination activities?"
John: If you don't have good historical information, trust me you're not alone. Some of the places we go have great historical information that they can pull from because maybe the professor that was there, or the lab tech that was there, or one of the technicians, may still be with that company or with that facility and they can get it from them. But in the case if you're not sure what kind of historical uses there has been, maybe we'll want to start off with taking some wipe samples and taking some pH samples and just do some scanning with the Jerome and scan in the areas concerned like the areas permeated staining which can be on the floor or the wall.
Doing a pre-scan of all of the same traps just to make sure that we're not getting any mercury hit. I mean, there's various things but the good thing about it is that when the historical value, most of the times, you can track the BL stuff, whether it was a BL1, BL2, or several lab. You can kind of track that just from information in the building and on the building.
But with the chemicals, I mean, it's kind of basic, the same kind of cleaning process. Definitely, maybe do some pre-sampling and screening and making sure that nothing out of the ordinary or something up the walls there. And set up your decontamination procedure that way.
Sasha: Great. Thanks. I think that's it for questions. John, if you want to flip to the next slide, we can wrap things up. Just so everybody knows, we'll send you an email with the copy of the presentation some time tomorrow along with the recording of the presentation. The email will also have a link to a survey asking you to rate this webinar. If you could fill it out, that would be very helpful to the Triumvirate team in working to improve future webinars.
We have several upcoming webinars including one on the Clean Air Act Compliance and Emergency Response Plans. You can find those webinars on our events page at www.triumvirate.com/training/events. There will also be a link to that in the webinars or in the emails. You can get that there.
Thanks everybody for attending. We hope to see you next time. Bye!