"Before the anthrax events of October 2001, VHP technology had been used around the world for decontaminating critical environment rooms and enclosed areas up to approximately 7,500 cubic feet in a variety of scientific, research and pharmaceutical applications," says Iain McVey, a senior scientist who is supporting the VHP development activities for Strategic Technology Enterprises. After the 2001 anthrax events resulted in the contamination of a number of facilities, the company deployed a high capacity VHP decontamination system that is capable of treating areas as large as 250,000 cubic feet.
McVey and his colleagues demonstrated the ability of the high capacity system to decontaminate a 1.4 million cubic foot government facility that had been contaminated with anthrax spores. The building was subdivided into approximately 250,000 cubic foot zones, and each zone was decontaminated over a period of four to twelve hours. No significant effects on the building's furnishings, including sensitive room fixtures like paintwork, artwork and computers, were observed.
STERIS has successfully demonstrated the efficacy of the VHP technology under a variety of test conditions and in rooms of various sizes. Unlike many corrosive fumigants, VHP which breaks down into water vapor and oxygen does not produce hazardous by-products and has a limited degree of reactivity with other materials.