Dave Mason &Tom Peter – From the Trenches: Education on Cleaning/Disinfecting During Epidemics

Air Date: 3-13-2020|Episode 577

This week on IAQradio+ we go in the trenches with restoration principles that are responding to the Coronavirus outbreak in real time. Two of our favorite restoration experts Dave Mason and Tom Peter, CIH join us today to discuss their perspective on education, cleaning and disinfecting during the current pandemic.

David Mason is the Senior Consultant, and President of Atlantic Restoration Services, providing disaster recovery services across the United States. Atlantic offers complete building and contents de-contamination services, and repairs property damage. He is a consultant for forensic building investigations, litigation support and for property damage restoration, and is a qualified professional for arbitration, subrogation, appraisals and court proceedings. Atlantic Restoration has Command Centers with warehouse facilities, along with contents processing plants, in Atlanta and West Palm Beach.

Tom Peter, MS, CIH is the CEO of Insurance Restoration Specialists of East Brunswick, NJ. Tom has supervised just about every type of hazardous waste, indoor environmental quality, mold remediation, water damage restoration project there is and all while in the shoes of a Certified Industrial Hygienist. His vast experience in the field and education make him the go to guy in the restoration world for issues like the Coronavirus pandemic.

Z-Man’g Blog:

COVID-19, the view from the trenches

Nuggets mined from today’s episode:

Dave Mason: growing demand by hospital clients, Veterans Administration, and immediate care clinics in all of his service areas. (GA, FL, NY, CA)

Tom Peter: Ahead of the curve, he created the Infection Control Technologies Division, years ago and which has now come to fruition. Have been ramping up for COVID-19 for 10 ten days. Now at fever pitch, many preemptive inquiries and requests for estimates. Panic demand for cleaning of schools, universities and hospitals. Treatments are busy over the weekend and through next week.

Pete Consigli:

  • Washington State is ground zero with highest mortality rate in the US and contractors are trying to respond.  High profile projects are being done under full hard containments, using the most expensive processes and products.
  • After Trump’s speech and the decision to limit entry into the US. Cold splash of water woke up the country. Domino effect of major sports cancellations. Major industry events cancelled: PLRB, IICRC Standards Summit, The Experience (shut down by State of Ohio), etc. Many closures are likely driven by risk management advice by corporate legal counsel.
  • Several RIA members are getting requests for decontamination from  colleges, universities, sporting venues and airports. Virus levels cannot be quickly or economically measured onsite. Much of this emergency service work is being done for “placebo effect”. Purdue was one of the first universities to switch over from classroom to online training.
  • One on RIA’s global members is in Japan decontaminating a large cruise ship.
  • On the map of states with COVID-19 infections, Louisiana has just turned red only a few states remain without a case. New Orleans has events cancelling.
  • Contractors should be clear on the terms. Not give a false sense of security. Recommends the use of Ed Cross’ contracts, https://www.edcross.com/covid-19
  • Pete is a loyal customer of American Airlines, Hilton Hotels and National Car Rental. The CEO of all 3 firms proactively notified their customers of the actions they were taken to protect them and stem concerns of infection.

3rd party protocols?

Dave Mason: Hasn’t received any 3rd party protocols. Prepares his own protocols. His protocols and methodologies are situationally dependent. Uses ATP to check surfaces for bio-load prior to SteriMist treatment. When there is known exposure, he is known to use a “SteriMist Sandwich” (SteriMist Sandwich is applications at both the outset and end of project).

Tom Peters: Hasn’t received any 3rd party protocols. Writes own protocols. Protocols and methodologies are situationally dependent. May vary from only touch-point cleaning and general disinfection to much deeper cleaning in cases of known exposure. When there is known exposure, his staff uses stepped up PPE: Tyvek suits, full face respirator and hooded PAPR when applying broad spectrum disinfectants and/or SteriMist.

Is SteriMist Overkill for COVID-19?

Dave Mason: Feels the “Big Gun” SteriMist is necessary when there is known exposure from a virulent pathogen such as COVID-19? SteriMist treatment is like a flu shot or vaccination for the building.

Tom Peters: Opines that SteriMist is appropriate for Covid19.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, MD said wait 10 day.

Dave Mason & Tom Peters agree that clients with budgetary constraints have the option to wait 10 days for the virus to become inactive and then provide PPE for their staff while detail cleaning and disinfecting touch points.

ATP and Guarantees?

(Note: viruses don’t contain adenosine triphosphate (ATP)

Dave Mason: Operates under the assumption of high hazard. Uses ATP to measure bio-load and determine if surfaces are clean enough to receive SteriMist treatment. Contract contains a waiver. A bio-load of -0- isn’t without risk.

Tom Peters: Uses ATP for clearance of surfaces to a food grade cleaning level of 10. Contract contains a waiver.



  • is an advocate of fogging at the beginning to remove airborne particulate and allergens from the air prior to cleaning.
  • It depends what you fog: water, amended water, antimicrobial with permissible label claim. It depends how you fog it.
  • Thermal foggers create the smallest particle size. Cold foggers (ULVs) create larger particles. Some fogs can function as air sanitizers.

Tom Peters: Fogging when in close proximity to dust reservoirs (electronic equipment, soiled ceiling tiles) can stir up dust.

Dave Mason: Fogging provides “infection protection”. Uses “SteriMist sandwich” on sewage losses and trauma cleanups.

Radio Joe : Maintenance budgets have been cut. Deep cleaning has been deferred. There is a high level of filth in buildings, buses, etc. A questioner at the CIAQ meeting was concerned about the overuse of quaternary disinfectants and other cleaning products leading to exacerbation of asthma.

Restoration Global Watchdog:

  • RIA members are busy.
  • RIA/DKI event is fluid. (The decision whether or not to attend may be driven by family, finance or emotion). At the time of this podcast.
  • Note:Shortly afterward the state of Louisiana prohibited meetings over 250 people, thus RIA postponed its 2020 convention.
  • Ed Cross’ COVD-19 contracts available on LinkedIn
  • Marty King  encouraged restorers to use the least intensive procedure to accomplish the desired result. Consigli’s interpretation, don’t use a baseball bat when a flyswatter will do the job!
  • The customer should be given options from which to choose (good, better, best), most customers will make the right decision if given sound advice.
  • Spring Training event in Florida was cancelled due to company-imposed travel restrictions by speakers and sponsors.
  • More Moisture Mob interviews are upcoming.

Round Up:

Dave Mason: The 3 Ps: Protect your workers. Protect occupants. Protect the building.

Tom Peter: Be safe out there. Do not put people in harm’s way. Don’t over promise. No BS Statements about antimicrobial efficacy.

Ed Light:

  • As a former State Industrial Hygienist (West Virginia Health Department), Ed was disappointed that, during a crisis where sanitizing is critical to protect the public from fatal illness, a public health official was focusing on the minor risks associated with misuse of disinfectants. Ed said this illustrates the philosophical difference between the new wave of green environmentalist and traditional environmental health practitioners. Efficacy of “Green” Cleaning Products with Respect To Common Respiratory Viruses and Mold Growth – Ed Light, CIH Journal of Environmental Health (May, 2009) 71:9:24-27
  • Ed’s industrial hygiene/ mechanical engineering firm, Building Dynamics, has been investigating Coronavirus with respect to ventilation. They have found that HVAC design and inoperable windows were not significant factors in the spread of COVID-19. Ed’s literature review in support of this study is available (Elight@Building-Dynamics.com).

Ed’s recommendation on How to Sanitize Occupied Buildings:

  • Use products registered by EPA as effective for control of enveloped viruses- do not use unregistered products promoted as “green cleaners.”.
  • In addition to high-touch surfaces, clean all surfaces that can be coughed or sneezed on.
  • Clean when spaces are unoccupied.
  • Sanitize surfaces twice, to ensure pre-cleaning requirement is achieved..
  • Quality control is critical. Supervisors must verify procedures are actually followed. Verification should include inspection to confirm treated surfaces are free of dust and debris. Testing, (i.e., ADP) is not relevant.
  • Sanitizing of occupied buildings should be repeated frequently.

Z-Man Signing Off


Who was Dmitri Losifovich Ivanovsky?


Dmitri Losifovich Ivanovsky was a Russian botanist, the discoverer of viruses and one of the founders of virology