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<title>Systematic Evaluation of Aggressive Air Sampling for Bacillus anthracis Spores</title>
<type>single page tiff</type>

technical BR
       Systematic Evaluation of Aggressive Air Sampling for Bacillus anthracis

     The ability to accurately measure contamination in the
     environment is crucial to reliably assess risk and determine
     when reoccupation of spaces may occur. Existing surface
     sampling methods (i.e., wipe, swab, sponge stick) may not be
     optimum for all situations. The efficacy of existing surface
     sampling methods varies widely and contaminant recovery can
     be low.  These methods may not be effective for all surfaces,
     nor can surface sample results be used to infer air
     contamination levels. Additional sampling methods, capable of
     yielding consistent and reliable data linked to inhalation, are

     AAS involves the use of forced-air equipment such as leaf
     blowers to dislodge and reaerosolize particulates, and slow-speed fans to keep the particles
     suspended while air samples are collected.  Since 1985, AAS has been recommended by EPA for use
     in sampling following asbestos  remediation; surface sampling is not recommended.1 Aggressive air
     sampling has also been used following building decontamination in response to the Amerithrax
     incidents of 2001 when it was discovered that reaeresolization of Bacillus anthracis spores from desks,
     floors, etc was occurring.2 However, this AAS method has been used as a supplemental method to
     surface sampling.
                                      EPA's Homeland Security Research Program
                                      (HSRP) develops products based on scientific
                                      research and technology evaluations. Our
                                      products and expertise are widely used in
                                      preventing, preparing for, and recovering from
                                      public health and environmental emergencies
                                      that arise from terrorist attacks. Our research
                                      and products address biological, radiological,
                                      or chemical contaminants that could affect
                                      indoor areas, outdoor areas,  or water
                                      infrastructure. HSRP provides these products,
                                      technical assistance, and expertise to support
                                      EPA's roles and responsibilities under the
                                      National Response Framework, statutory
                                      requirements, and Homeland Security
                                      Presidential Directives.
     Aggressive Air Sampling (AAS) Project
     Although AAS has been used for supplemental
     spore sampling, it has not been rigorously and
     systematically tested to support use as a primary
     method. As such, EPA is initiating a study to
     assess the applicability of AAS to B. anthracis
     spore sampling for clearance and
     characterization. If AAS is found to be effective
     for spore sampling when compared to surface
     sampling, it may enable clearance and
     characterization with fewer samples than the
     current surface sampling methods. Also,
     contractors skilled at asbestos sampling using
     AAS could be employed during an anthrax
     response to increase sampling capability3. Unlike
     surface sampling, samples may be directly associated with inhalation risk.
     The asbestos aggressive air sampling procedure will be applied to B. anthracis surrogate spores
     deposited on to coupons of selected indoor and outdoor surface materials. Varied concentrations of
     surrogate spores will be deposited onto target surface materials via aerosolization. The tests will be

     conducted in EPA's relative humidity and temperature controlled testing chamber.  The efficacy of AAS
     compared to surface sampling for spores will be measured as a function of three surface spore
     concentrations, deposited on at least three surface types using two dissemination methods3.

     OEM and Regions (OSC, On-Scene Coordinator) have requested this evaluation to support potential
     use of this method for anthracis spore sampling during remediation.  Both OEM and OSCs are
     represented on this research team3.  A report on this study is expected early 2013.

     For additional information, contact Dr. Sang Don Lee, (


     1.      U.S.EPA, 1985 Guidance for the Control of Asbestos-Containing Materials in Buildings.  EPA
     2.      Kelly, Jack. 2004. Anthrax/Ricin Case Histories -Air Sampling (+) for WMD. Presentation, OSC
     Readiness. November.
     3.      Lee, S.D., Mickelsen, L, Mattorano, D. 2011. White Paper for 2012 WARRP S&T Program
     Systematic Evaluation of Aggressive Air Sampling for Bacillus anthracis Spores.
January, 2012

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