We performed comprehensive environmental engineering assessment and decontamination services at a former pharmaceutical research, development and manufacturing facility in South Florida. Services included an asbestos survey of approximately 40,000 sf of office, laboratory, R&D, manufacturing (including isolation chambers) and storage space; providing research and development of a QA/QC Plan for facility decontamination and clearance testing; developing sampling analytical standards for key target and experimental drug compounds; oversight and documentation of equipment decontamination processes; provided interior facility demolition plan and permit support; oversight and documentation of interior facility decontamination processes; and providing post demolition sampling and reporting for the target compounds, including preparation of a comprehensive facility decomissioning report. Contaminants of concern included cytotoxic compounds used to develop experimental cancer treatment drugs. This required special handling and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Pre-assessment and Sampling

Each piece of lab equipment (located in isolation chambers and R&D portions of the facility) was sampled using specialized low organic carbon content swabs to establish baseline contaminant levels. Due to risk of employee exposure, samples were collected using Level B PPE including chemical resistant clothing, self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), and chemical resistant gloves. Prior to collecting swab samples, the equipment and areas of concern were scanned with a handheld ultraviolet (UV) light to determine if any compound residue was visibly present. If compound residues were visually detected, the area of concern was swab sampled as the suspected worst case scenario. The swab samples were analyzed by a certified laboratory for Total Organic Carbon (TOC) content.

Decontamination Process

We subcontracted Innovative Decon Solutions (IDS) to conduct decontamination activities at the facility. Due to the nature of compounds used at the pharmaceutical lab, we recommended decontaminating the entire facility in addition to the equipment. Since there was no longer an operating heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system at the facility, portable equipment was used for treating the duct work. IDS utilized an aerosol application method (electrostatic or ULV aerolization) to generate an ultra fine mist (<10 micron of charged particles) of the decontamination formula, MDF-500 throughout the areas of concern. The decon formula is able to penetrate biological and chemical compounds and residues to reduce their toxicity.

Clearance Testing

We conducted clearance testing subsequent to decontamination activities. Testing comprised of swab samples collected in the vicinity of the baseline swab sample locations for analysis of TOC prior to demolition and for specific compounds of concern (through standard development based on retrieved product samples) for post interior demolition structure clearance. The clearance sampling locations were cross referenced from photographs taken during the baseline sampling event and from facility plans. Sampling results indicated the decontamination of the equipment and the facility was successful.