As anthrax and other biological weapons continue to be worrisome threats, common pest control agent called methyl bromide is more effective and cheaper than current treatments in eradicating deadly bacterial spores from buildings. Tests indicate that the methylbromide - used for more than 50 years to control insect pests in buildings, grain elevators and fresh fruit - is a better option than current treatments such as chlorine dioxide for killing anthrax and other bacterial spores.
Methyl bromide gas was chosen for laboratory experiments because of its chemical properties, long track record in the pest control industry and its widespread agricultural use. Eighty paper strips, each containing as many as 100 million spores of the anthrax-like surrogate, were placed in walls, under carpets, inside computers and file cabinets, and in other hidden places that might harbor spores in an actual anthrax contamination. The tests killed the spores and proved that methyl bromide is more effective than chlorine dioxide gas as a building fumigant for anthrax.
Methyl bromide would be the most effective treatment because the structure is so heavily contaminated with anthrax spores. Another advantage of using methyl bromide fumigant is that it will not damage equipment, furnishings or sensitive materials. Chlorine dioxide is corrosive and may damage electronics, fabrics and photographs, among other things.