Hollywood`s contamination control comes home
Lisa A. Karter
Have you noticed that cleanrooms and contamination control are finding their way into the mainstream? People who are not connected with our industry are asking, “What`s a cleanroom?”
For example, take a look at “Independence Day” — the biggest money-making movie of 1996. Did everyone notice the cleanroom about half-way through the movie? I sure did. I remember sitting in the theater elbowing my husband and saying, “Look at the cleanroom! That`s what we write about.” Then someone tossed popcorn at me and said, “Shhhh.”
Technology always carries some sex appeal, especially when it`s glamorized in the movies. By its very nature, contamination control technology bears some grave weight when it appears before us on the big screen. Maybe you saw the cleanrooms and contamination control technology in “Species,” “Outbreak,” or “The X Files.” How about the garb in “Star Trek: First Contact”? Remember Michael Crichton`s “The Andromeda Strain”? The motion picture was loaded with contamination control technology, especially the full-body glove box the surgeons used to interact with the infected patients. You don`t have to know the plot to recognize the importance of cleanroom technology in that film.
Hollywood even taps our industry for help in understanding and using contamination control technology. CRP`s Chief Engineer John Potter is a technical advisor for television and motion pictures. Meanwhile, Forma Scientific has provided equipment for a couple of recent major motion pictures.
As much as Hollywood glamorizes our technology, you can`t escape the incredible need for contamination control. As more and more people become familiar with contamination control, the more questions they ask, and the more they learn about its uses. I now find myself wearing nitrile gloves when I handle raw poultry and meat. Several years ago, I never would have done that. And now, I always wear gloves and a face mask when I`m refinishing furniture or painting. I`m even investigating buying a small HVAC air filter for my home.
I believe that as the technology becomes more familiar to the general public, our industry will expand to yet another avenue. I`m not saying that all the mainstream attention will suddenly transfer into revenue for our market, but a little Hollywood publicity doesn`t hurt.