Sandia decon formulation, best known as an anthrax killer, takes on household mold

April 26, 2007

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- A product based on a technology originally developed at Sandia National Laboratories is now available on the shelves of hardware stores across the country.

The product is Mold Control 500, distributed by Scott's Liquid Gold of Denver and now available in Home Depot, Wal-Mart, True Value, Ace Hardware, and other home improvement stores. For around $30 a box, Scott's Liquid Gold Mold Control 500 treats mildew- and mold-contaminated surface areas in the home, according to the package.

MC 500 is based on Sandia's decontamination formulation (a.k.a. decon foam), developed for emergency cleanup of biological and chemical warfare agents following a terrorist attack. It is best known for its role in helping remediate anthrax-contaminated buildings in Washington, D.C., and New York in 2001.

Sandia is a National Nuclear Security Administration laboratory.

"This is pretty exciting," says Sandia researcher Mark Tucker, who leads the Sandia team that has developed, improved, and tested the Sandia formulation over the last 10 years. "Mold remediation wasn't what we set out to do, but the formulation is effective at killing most microorganisms, so it is good to find uses beyond our original intent -- especially uses that may improve public health."

The formulation kills fungi such as molds in much the same way it kills anthrax, says Tucker. Mold growths form films over their surfaces that, like the shells of anthrax spores, are difficult to penetrate. The formulation's surfactants poke holes in the film, and its mild oxidizing components kill the fungal organisms. The formulation, when used as a foam, expands to fill space and thus gets into corners and other hard-to-reach places, and it sticks to walls and ceilings, giving the chemistry time to do its work.

Scott's Liquid Gold has an arrangement with Modec, Inc., of Denver to sell Mold Control 500 in retail markets. Modec is one of two companies holding Sandia licenses to market and distribute products based on the Sandia formulation.

"Mold control is an up and coming issue," says Modec President Brian Kalamanka. "We felt there was an excellent niche for this."

Jeff Hinkle, Scott's Liquid Gold senior vice president for marketing, says its recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approval allowed shipping to retail outlets to begin in the fall. Stores began stocking MC 500 in November, and the product is expected to reach thousands more stores this month, he says.

Development of the Sandia formulation began in 1997, funded initially by the U.S. Department of Energy's Chemical and Biological National Security Program. It has earned two patents, and several more are pending.

In addition to helping clean up contaminated buildings following a series of mailings of anthrax powder to recipients in Washington, D.C., New York, and Florida in 2001, the Sandia foam also was staged in the Middle East in 2003 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and has played a role there in helping clean up hazardous chemical sites. Sandia's two licensees, Modec Inc. and Intelagard Inc., have sold thousands of gallons of the formulation to municipal and state governments, the first responder community, and the U.S. military, among other users.

Tests at Sandia and Kansas State University in 2004 demonstrated the formulation's effectiveness for killing the virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), suggesting its use also might blunt the spread of other viruses such as the Norwalk (cruise ship) virus, avian influenza (bird flu), and the common flu.

The formulation now is being discussed as a potential solution to at least a dozen problems, among them hospital sanitization, meth lab cleanup, mold remediation in commercial buildings, and cleaning out agricultural pesticide sprayers in an environmentally benign way.
More information at

Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin company, for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration. Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.

Release and images are available at

Sandia news media contact: John German,, (505) 844-5199

Sandia National Laboratories' World Wide Web home page is located at Sandia news releases, news tips, science photo gallery, and periodicals can be found at the News Center button.

DOE/Sandia National Laboratories

Related Mold Articles from Brightsurf:

Water predictions: Telling when a nanolithography mold will break through droplets
Ultraviolet nanoimprint lithography is powerful method of producing polymer nanostructures by pressing a curable resin onto a mold.

Mold now associated with food quality
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have studied a range of perceptions among Danes about good, healthy and safe foodstuffs.

City of Hope scientists identify first invasive case of rare mold in a cancer patient
City of Hope scientists have found a toxic fungus previously thought to not be infectious in the sinus tissues of a man with refractory acute lymphocytic leukemia.

Slime mold simulations used to map dark matter holding universe together
The behavior of one of nature's humblest creatures is helping astronomers probe the largest structures in the universe.

Astronomers use slime mold model to reveal dark threads of the cosmic web
A computational approach inspired by the growth patterns of a bright yellow slime mold has enabled a team of astronomers and computer scientists at UC Santa Cruz to trace the filaments of the cosmic web that connects galaxies throughout the universe.

Taming the wild cheese fungus
The flavors of fermented foods are heavily shaped by the fungi that grow on them, but the evolutionary origins of those fungi aren't well understood.

Meet the 'mold pigs,' a new group of invertebrates from 30 million years ago
Fossils preserved in Dominican amber reveal a new family, genus and species of microinvertebrate from the mid-Tertiary period, a discovery that shows unique lineages of the tiny creatures were living 30 million years ago.

Space station mold survives high doses of ionizing radiation
The International Space Station, like all human habitats in space, has a nagging mold problem.

Beewolves use a gas to preserve food
Scientists from the Universities of Regensburg and Mainz and the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology discovered that the eggs of the European beewolf produce nitric oxide.

Researchers develop new lens manufacturing technique
Researchers from Washington State University and Ohio State University have developed a low-cost, easy way to make custom lenses that could help manufacturers avoid the expensive molds required for optical manufacturing.

Read More: Mold News and Mold Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to