Going back to Richard's point, please read the Spec Bros. posting that Richard linked. Mold is one 
thing, but the crystalline "chunks" are something else. What I dealt with was not mold. What Marie 
described was mold. Two different things, maybe requiring different cleaning methods.

Regarding John's comments, I have no doubt that the plaintiff bar and its media lapdogs have greatly 
exaggerated the mortal dangers of common molds, but I still think it's a bad idea to go about 
cleaning moldy tapes without wearing a face mask of some sort and gloves. Marie works in an 
institution, so she takes extra measures to protect her colleagues and also to avoid contaminating 
her archive building with mold. I would say that, while it might not kill you, it's probably not a 
good idea to ingest concentrated piles of mold that have been feeding on the chemistry of magnetic 
tape and its packaging. I would also say, while I don't know of anyone who has gottten sick or died 
from it, you probably shouldn't bake tapes in an enclosed area without much airflow. I haven't seen 
any thorough chemical analysis of what the fumes of baking contain. Tape manufacturing was a very 
toxic industry. Keep in mind two things: 1) the former Quantegy plant in Alabama was a Superfund 
cleanup site; and 2) Mike Spitz's business partner told me that he suspected Mike contracted brain 
cancer from years of exposure to tape-manufacturing chemicals and equipment. These are both 
anecdotal points, but enough to convince me to be serious about air quality when working with 
magnetic media.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Alex Tomlin" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, May 21, 2015 4:27 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] White spores on Ampex 456

> Unless we wanna wear the moon suits for kicks! ;)
> Thanks all. After seeing the 2inch I'm also concerned about what the crystals will do to the tape 
> path too.  Lots of cleaning then!
> Sent from my iPhone
>> On 21 May 2015, at 07:28, John Haley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> I'm not disagreeing with anybody, just pointing out that most mold is not
>> particularly dangerous to human beings (assuming it is not ingested).  It
>> makes up a huge part of the biosphere and has been on the planet far, far
>> longer than our little species, which has survived alongside it for several
>> million years just fine.  Mold spores are everywhere--in what we breathe
>> and touch every day.  There are a few people with a particular mold allergy
>> that get a bad reaction, and there are different kinds of mold.  The kind
>> that invades the walls and ceilings of damp buildings in the Southern US,
>> particularly with modern construction methods, is nasty but harmless to the
>> vast majority of people.  I did a legal article about mold infestations
>> back in the 1990's when that was a very popular form of lawsuit, with
>> class-action hoopla and big insurance implications.  The wild assumption
>> made by a number of juries, of course promoted like crazy by the
>> plaintiffs' bar and based on junk science, was that mold was making
>> everybody sick.  I am not advocating living with mold infestations, just
>> pointing out the facts.  The chemicals in tape stock may be a different
>> story, but cleaning gunk off a tape should not result in inhaling or
>> ingesting them. I like the idea of good ventilation but I don't see the
>> need for wearing moonsuits.
>> Best,
>> John Haley
>>> On Thu, May 21, 2015 at 1:41 AM, Marie O'Connell <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>> I have had quite a few of these!  In a safe zone and wearing a full mask as
>>> described by Richard and latex gloves, I will dismantle the reel and have a
>>> clean reel at the ready (this can only be achieved with reels using
>>> screws).  I soak these in a diluted mixture of hydrogen peroxide to kill
>>> the mould and then leave then to dry.
>>> I vacuum both sides of the platter using a circular motion and a hepa
>>> vacuum.  After that I give the tape on both sides of the platter a wipe
>>> using hydrogen peroxide and dampened cotton balls.  Once the tape is clean
>>> put it back on the cleaned reel and re-assemble.
>>> Then I will attempt the pellon wipe as the others have described.  Then I
>>> bake the tape for at least a week.
>>> I've had good results thankfully.
>>> And just remember to keep yourself safe as the spores are not good for our
>>> health.
>>> Good Luck!
>>> Marie
>>> On Thu, May 21, 2015 at 12:32 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
>>> wrote:
>>>> I encountered this once on a couple reels of 456. I went about it pretty
>>>> much as Richard describes, and I agree with all of his warnings. I took a
>>>> further precaution of running the dehydrator in the garage (it was early
>>>> fall, so the ambient temp wasn't that different from inside), and then
>>>> opening the doors for a couple hours the next day to air the space out. I
>>>> think I did a careful wipe on the outside of the tape pack with
>>> isopropynol
>>>> before baking, and I think that took off most of the little chunks like
>>>> shown in Richard's photo. After baking, I ran the tape through my
>>>> no-headblock wind-off transport gently pinching a pelon wipe to the tape.
>>>> The wipe did end up with a good bit of crud on it, I changed which part
>>> of
>>>> it was touching tape often. The tapes then transferred just fine.
>>>> The stuff on the tapes I dealt with was more crystalline powder than
>>> gooey
>>>> or fuzzy mold-type crud.
>>>> -- Tom Fine
>>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Richard L. Hess" <
>>>> [log in to unmask]>
>>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> Sent: Wednesday, May 20, 2015 5:38 PM
>>>> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] White spores on Ampex 456
>>>> I generally only handle 1/4 inch tape with mold and other crud and do
>>>>> that in my garage wearing a NIOSH certified respirator (cartridge type),
>>>>> but I make NO GUARANTEES that is safe. I'm still alive and my airways
>>> are
>>>>> doing better now that I'm out of LA and getting more sleep.
>>>>> Please be careful. None of this stuff is really good for you.
>>>>> Also be careful pulling apart a tape that needs baking (like 456) before
>>>>> you bake it as you can pull the mag coat off in some instances.
>>>>> Cheers,
>>>>> Richard
>>>>>> On 2015-05-20 5:17 PM, analogue alec wrote:
>>>>>> Thank you Richard,
>>>>>> I knew there had been some discussion over the years and possibly most
>>>>>> recently on cassettes.  The mess on your picture looks terrible... can
>>>>>> you
>>>>>> remember how it turned out?
>>>>>> Ive now found some 2" that has more and on the oxide too.  I'll
>>> probably
>>>>>> be
>>>>>> taking these apart so will pass on anything out of the norm.
>>>>>> I was wondering about health concerns over breathing any of this in
>>> once
>>>>>> it
>>>>>> starts rewinding etc.
>>>>>> All the best,
>>>>>> alex.
>>>>>> On 20 May 2015 at 21:52, Richard L. Hess <[log in to unmask]>
>>>>>> wrote:
>>>>>> Hi, Alex,
>>>>>>> Peter Brothers's response to my 2005 query on ARSCLIST is here:
>>>>>>> My image is back up where it was, but because people had been
>>>>>>> hot-linking
>>>>>>> my images, you'll need to copy the URL and paste it into your browser.
>>>>>>> It
>>>>>>> didn't click for me from the cool website. Pasting the link into the
>>>>>>> browser should allow you to see the image.
>>>>>>> Good luck!
>>>>>>> Cheers,
>>>>>>> Richard
>>>>>>> On 2015-05-20 3:42 PM, analogue alec wrote:
>>>>>>> Hello all,
>>>>>>>> I've received 3 reels of Ampex 456 1/4"  that have some white growth
>>>>>>>> that
>>>>>>>> seems more 'salty' than 'mouldy' and wondering if anyone has some
>>>>>>>> ideas on
>>>>>>>> whats going on here?
>>>>>>>> I have posted a picture of tape on the reel here:
>>>>>>>> The tapes were recorded in Dallas in 1977 and have been (i believe)
>>>>>>>> non-environmentally controlled storage ever since.  The boxes are the
>>>>>>>> old
>>>>>>>> 406 type and dont have any growths at all.
>>>>>>>> I look forward to reading your comments.
>>>>>>>> Many thanks,
>>>>>>>> alex.
>>>>>>>>  --
>>>>>>> Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask]
>>>>>>> Aurora, Ontario, Canada                             647 479 2800
>>>>>>> Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.
>>>>>> --
>>>>> Richard L. Hess                   email: [log in to unmask]
>>>>> Aurora, Ontario, Canada                             647 479 2800
>>>>> Quality tape transfers -- even from hard-to-play tapes.