Fungal Contamination

THE PROBLEM:

Dust appearing on cars parked in a neighborhood was blamed on a nearby foundry, and the neighbors sued. The case centered on whether or not the dust originated from the foundry.

Dust identified as fungus by analytical testing using light and electron microscopy

THE ANALYSES:

Samples of the offending dust were examined utilizing polarized light microscopy (PLM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) coupled with energy dispersive x-ray spectrometry (EDS). The analyses indicated that the particles making up the dust were not the metal and metal-rich particles normally expected from a foundry. In fact, the dark spots appearing on the cars were composed primarily of fungus.

THE OUTCOME:

The suit was dropped, saving the foundry thousands of dollars in legal expenses.