Vikane or sulfuryl fluoride is a fumigant gas used for the control of major xylophagous insects. Dry wood termites and other wood-destroying insects can cause significant damage as they feed on materials containing cellulose found in structures, such as wood, paper, fabrics, furnishings and works of art. Since these insects live most of their life cycle within their food source, the exact distribution and extent of the infestation is often difficult to determine. Therefore, localized treatments, the use of physical methods or conventional insecticides may not eradicate all the insects that destroy the wood that infest a structure. Vikane was developed to be used only by professional fumigators for structural fumigations. Additionally, Vikane is also used to control bed bugs, cockroaches, moths, rodents, spiders, carpet beetles and other pests that infest the facility.
The sulfuryl fluoride gas, SO2F2, it is neither flammable nor corrosive and does not cause unwanted odors. It quickly penetrates into structures and materials, is effective against a variety of parasites that infest the structure and dissipates quickly during ventilation. This fumigant can be used in different types of buildings, including homes, hotels, churches, museums, historical monuments, rare book libraries, government, scientific and medical archives, research laboratories, ships, transport vehicles and food handling facilities.
Vikane does not react with the furnishings or contents of the building, including computers, electronics and production equipment. This is why Vikane fumigation is an established method used to eradicate the parasites that infest delicate and rare preserves, biological and historical museum exhibits. Vikane does not form toxic surface residues, so dishes, clothes, kitchen utensils, equipment and other items should not be washed after fumigation with Vikane.
Once the structure and the degree of infestation have been assessed, all openings to the outside (doors, windows, fireplaces) are sealed in order to contain the concentration of gas inside the premises. The dosage and exposure period of the fumigant will be calculated by specific devices. The exposure time can vary from 2 to 72 hours. When the exposure period is completed the technician will return to the facility to conduct the remediation procedure.
VIKANE AND THE ENVIRONMENT
When the Vikane fumigant is aerated from a structure, it quickly dissipates into the atmosphere due to its high vapor pressure. The relative small amount of Vikane released and calculated has virtually no impact on the global atmosphere and environment. Sulfuryl fluoride is completely oxidized and therefore is not expected to interact or contribute to the local formation of ozone, such as smog, due to its low reactivity in the atmosphere. The relative contribution of sulfuryl fluoride to acid rain is infinitely small compared to the massive amount of sulfuryl released into the atmosphere by industry. Sulfuryl fluoride does not contain chlorine or bromide and therefore cannot react to deplete stratospheric ozone by known mechanisms (Bailey 1992). Sulfuryl fluoride is not listed as a greenhouse gas under the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty regulating greenhouse gases. Recently published information suggests that compared to other sources of greenhouse gases, the potential contribution of sulfuryl fluoride is about one hundredth of 1% (0.01%) of the total contributions to global warming (Papadimitriou et al. 2008).