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close this book Prevention and treatment of mold in library collections with an emphasis on tropical climates: A RAMP study
close this folder 6. Treatment
Open this folder and view contents 6.1 Small outbreaks - localized high relative humidity
Open this folder and view contents 6.2 Moderate outbreaks - Major and prolonged periods of high humidity or minor flooding
Open this folder and view contents 6.3 Major outbreaks - Major flooding and prolonged exposure
View the document Literature cited

6. Treatment

The most effective treatment in all but the most extreme cases is modification of the environment and removal of the mold growth from the affected item. Most mold outbreaks, if dealt with promptly, can be controlled without recourse to biocides. Fumigants should be necessary only in the most extreme cases, for example, a prolonged delay in beginning treatment following a major disaster. Even in this worst case scenario, options such as freezing, if available, may eliminate the need for fumigants entirely.

Selection of the appropriate treatment should be based on an analysis of the problem and the nature of the material. Different approaches will be required for different media, and different levels of treatment will be necessary depending on the size of the outbreak.

A variety of treatments will be discussed, many of them incorporating some form of vacuuming. It may be that the vacuum is one of the most important tools in the prevention and treatment of mold growth in tropical climates. The use of vacuum cleaners or vacuum aspirators to remove mold growth from the surface of items, is, in the author's view, preferable to other treatments currently available. The vacuum removes all elements of the colony (spores, conidiophores, and mycelium) and packages them neatly for disposal. It is non-toxic, and if used properly, does no structural or chemical damage to the item being treated. Vacuums are readily available everywhere, and are economical to operate. Even when electricity is not available, they can be operated with battery packs. The major disadvantage of vacuuming is that it requires handling each book individually and treatment is therefore labor intensive.

The equipment needed for the removal of mold growth as recommended in this study is quite basic, and should be readily available in most areas. It includes:

Basic equipment and tools for the removal of mold growth.

- Portable vacuum cleaner with flexible hose and crevice tool for the removal of mold from book covers.

- Mini-vac for the removal of mold from paper surfaces.

- Powdered art gum eraser for cleaning the surface of paper too brittle to be vacuumed.

- Soft dusting brushes for the removal of art gum the surface of paper.

- Watercolor brushes with a fine point for removing mold from pastels and other fragile surfaces.

- Fine pointed surgical tweezers which may also be used for removing mold from the surface of delicate materials.

This section will describe treatment for small, moderate and major mold outbreaks, and provide suggestions for treatment of specific categories of materials, including books, unbound paper, photographic materials and the general area affected. Readers should augment this information with materials included in the recommended literature on procedures for dealing with major disasters.