Drugmaker finds eco-friendly building stain remover

A big pharma company in Princeton, NJ, faced an ops problem outside the mainstream. A substance leeching from the exterior of buildings at its headquarters complex was leaving black stains.

The problem was compounded because the complex sits within a nature preserve, heightening environmental concerns and expanding project oversight. The cleaning chemical options were restricted. Those remaining yielded inconsistent cleaning results and prohibitive wastewater difficulties, according to a release.

Other solutions considered--the hard-abrasive Farrow System and high-pressure Sponge Jet--damaged the limestone façade, cleaned inconsistently, or carried environmental risk.

The big pharma ultimately solved the problem by using an eco-friendly hydrated magnesium sulfate, MaxxStrip. The soft, neutral-pH abrasive is slightly harder than baking soda, which was too soft to be effective. The eco-friendly substance removed the satin without damaging the façade.

No formal lab testing of the leeched substance was done, says Jeff Paduano of Environmentally Sensible Chemical Alternatives (ESCA). But the consensus is that the material is either residue that leeched off of the tar coating used on roof, or dead Organic Material.

- here's the release