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Impact of sporicidal fumigation with methyl bromide or methyl iodide on electronic equipment

Adrion, Alden C., Scheffrahn, Rudolf H., Serre, Shannon, Lee, Sang Don
Journal of environmental management 2019 v.231 pp. 1021-1027
computers, corrosion, fumigants, fumigation, geometry, light emitting diodes, methyl bromide, methyl iodide, organobromine compounds, organoiodine compounds, relative humidity, rubber
The effect of sporicidal fumigation with methyl bromide or methyl iodide on the functionality of valuable electronic equipment was evaluated using desktop computers as surrogates under target conditions of 200–250 mg/L fumigant for 48 h at 24–30 °C and 75–85% RH. Methyl iodide fumigation damaged light-emitting diodes and optical films in computer displays that were powered-on during fumigation. After five months of post-fumigation operation, five out of six methyl-bromide-fumigated and all six methyl-iodide-fumigated DVD ± RW optical drives failed. Deterioration of rubber spacers critical to maintaining correct disc geometry caused the failure. Metal coupons, included to measure corrosion, showed no significant differences in weight gain between control and fumigation conditions. Relative humidity sensors exhibited a substantial and sometimes irreversible reduction in sensitivity during and after methyl iodide fumigation. Methyl bromide and methyl iodide can cause damage to electronic equipment, but damage seems to be limited to organic materials rather than corrosion of metal surfaces.