From: Monona Rossol <actsnyc**At_Symbol_Here**CS.COM>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Theatrical Blood pool problem--closure
Date: February 20, 2013 7:47:47 PM EST
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: <8CFDDE3CD4F5632-308-37AB3**At_Symbol_Here**>

To all you helpful people.  I have wanted to post the CDC's official conclusion about the theatrical blood problem for closure.  For those who are not familiar with this issue, it is detailed at the bottom of this e-mail in my original request to the CDC.  
I waited in vain for the official response to CDC and finally had a friend there track it down and send it to me.  She found they had not sent it to me. It doesn't really say anything but to get approval from the manufacturer.  It was already known that the manufacturer would or should NOT approve because their theatrical blood product would be diluted and modified.  What was more helpful was my discussions with various CDC personnel off the record.   These unofficial opinions combined with a distillation of all of the responses on the DCHAS forum made it easy to conclude that it was folly to try to preserve the blood.  There just was no way to keep this large 1500 gallons of material that people would wade through safe from chemical degradation products and bacterial contamination over the run of the show.  And just before the production opened, the theater company agreed and found the money to discard 1500 gallons after each show. With three performances a week, that is a hell of an expense, but probably on a par with the complex chemical and heating methods that they considered trying.
Some of you also suggested lighting and virtual solutions, but this is not an option in this show for many reasons including the many angles of observation of the audience and the need to have the performers who walk through the blood with bare legs and feet  walk into the pool clean and come out with blood on their skin.  Not an easy problem.  Me?  I'd book a different show.
But it was SUCH fun guys and gals.  And we can all take a lesson that if an investigation and decision must be made in a short period of time, we'd best do just what we did--pool our various expertise and figure it out ourselves.  And when in doubt, err on the side of caution--especially in this case where the performers at risk are international stars known for being temperamental. 
-----Original Message-----
From: Kawamoto, Melody (CDC/NIOSH/DSHEFS) (CDC/NIOSH/DSHEFS) <mmk2**At_Symbol_Here**>
To: Monona Rossol <actsnyc**At_Symbol_Here**>
Cc: Kunz, Jasen M. (CDC/ONDIEH/NCEH) (CDC/ONDIEH/NCEH) <izk0**At_Symbol_Here**>
Sent: Wed, Feb 20, 2013 5:49 pm
Subject: Inquiry to CDC-INFO re: Theatrical Blood

I tracked down your inquiry. On December 21, 2012, you spoke with Jasen Kunz, CDC Environmental Health Scientist. He sent his written response to CDC-INFO, the office that received your original inquiry. It appears that they have not yet sent you his response. Here it is:
Due to the limited data available and potential unknown health and safety concerns, CDC is unable to comment on the proposed process to heat and reuse the diluted "fake blood" product. Therefore, CDC recommends following the manufacturer=E2=80™s recommendations when using the "fake blood" product. Specifically CDC recommends contacting the manufacturer to determine if the proposed protocol aligns with the manufacturer's intended use of the "fake blood" product. If specific occupational health and safety questions exist please contact the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for further local assistance.
When I forwarded your inquiry, I was thinking that the issues related to exposure to fake blood may be somewhat similar to those of exposures to metalworking fluids. The similarity is not about the specific chemical components or the use of the products (which are definitely different) but the complexity of the exposure: e.g., chemical components, breakdown products, contaminants (biological and other), and biocides. You may want to take a look at the NIOSH webpage for metalworking fluids ( for ideas on how to approach complex exposures. [This comment is strictly my personal opinion. See disclaimer.]
Melody M. Kawamoto, MD, MS
Medical Officer
Health Hazard Evaluations and Technical Assistance
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
4676 Columbia Parkway R-10
Cincinnati, Ohio 45226
fax: 513-458-7105

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--------------- Original Message ---------------
Sent: 12/9/2012 7:47 AM
Subject: industrial hygienist needs advice
Dear NIOSH, CDC People, including melody Kawamoto and Carla Sherman at Robt Taft Lab (who get my newsletter),
I'm the Safety Officer for Local USA829 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), for the New York Production Locals (NYPL) and I run a small nonprofit for non-union art and craft people called Arts, Crafts and Theater Safety. A unique problem has arisen that requires opinions beyond my abilities. And it is odd, so hang on to your hat.
A world class New York Theater is planning a production that opens January 30. during the production there will be a massive "pool" of fake blood on stage. It will be 4 to 6 inches deep with a total volume of 1500 gallons. In between shows it will be pumped into six 275 gallon holding tanks. This will being happening January 30 and end March 8. The show will be on stage approximately every three days for those six weeks. And every three days performers (some famous) and choristers will be wading barefoot through the blood. (I know, don't say it!)
The Blood is a commercial stage blood consisting of corn syrup, propylene glycol, FDC Red 40 and Blue 1, and methylparabens as a preservative. The problem is they can't afford 1500 gallons of this commercial product and it looks good on stage diluted 1:10 which further compromises the preservataive.
The manufacturer will only tell us the ingredients, not the percentages, so my guess is that after the "blood" is dilulted 1:10, the final solution should be some where in the range of 1-7% corn syrup, 1-7% propylene glycol, total dyes (FDC Red 40 &Blue 1) well under 1% and methyl parabens under 0.1%. So I now have a pretty good idea about the chemical issues. My only issue is Red 50 which will degrade to release p-cresidine-4-sulfonic acid (CAS #6471-78-9) which probably skin absorbs. But I can probably work out something to estimate that exposure. And it may be very small because they have been experimenting for many weeks now and the color is holding pretty well.
It is the bugs I need help with. Originally they contacted me because they were running tests and trying to keep the solution from growing strange microorganisms with dichloroisocyanurate and other pool chemicals. I enlisted my buddies on the American Chemical Society's safety list and it became clear in discussions that this simply can't work.
So the theater's current plan is the Blood will be heated to 90 deg in (6) 275 gal tanks with blanket heaters. After first rehearsal, blood will be returned to tanks, reheated to at least 90 deg overnight. If they can get the tanks hotter they will.
They will connect an inline 3 phase 208V heater with the following degree rise:
41 deg **At_Symbol_Here** 4.5 gal/min
82 deg **At_Symbol_Here** 2.25 gal min.
Once blood has reached 140 deg they will set the blankets to hold them at that temp for one hour. After that, they will let the blood cool down to 90 deg and hold it at that temp for the next rehearsal. Hopefully, there will be enough time for the blood to cool down.
Their Question to me was: What is the minimum time we can hold the blood at 140? Is 1 hour the minimum? Pasteurization calls for 145 deg for 30 min.
My response to them was: I'm a chemist not an expert in waterborne pathogens. I only know that pasteurization at 145 o F was meant to kill the organisms in milk such as those causing undulant fever without breaking down the fatty emulsion of the milk. Yet if there are bugs in your drinking water, the CDC says it needs a rolling boil for at least a minute. I also know that 90 o F is a temperature at which some microorganisms grow and thrive and that corn syrup is food. You could be incubating stuff at 90 o F under those conditions.
PLEASE HELP before we have a public health issue at a major US theater.
There is not much time, so we need:
1. An opinion about whether this could be a hazard or not.
2. Suggestions for keeping microbial growth controlled.
3. A protocol for monitoring the solutions to determine if microorganisms are thriving there or not. And since this is a famous venue, we may be able to get help from local labs and similar sources.
PLEASE also let me know if you are not going to have time or the interest to consider this request. January 30 is not far off and I need to pursue all possible sources of help.
Monona Rossol, M.S., M.F.A.,

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