Marysville company that cleans up COVID-19 can’t get N95 masks

May 11, 2020, 2:27 PM
N95 masks, delta...
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Over at Marysville’s Bio Clean Inc, the crew does the dirty work that most people don’t want to do.

“We typically clean up after suicides, homicides, decomposed bodies, meth labs, drug labs, hoarding,” said Bio Clean’s owner Theresa Borst, who was the inspiration for the movie Sunshine Cleaning starring Amy Adams.

An American ex-pat in Taiwan: Obey quarantine or face a fine

Right now, Bio Clean is booked solid cleaning up after coronavirus.

“We’re slammed, we’re running 24/7,” Borst said. “We are doing a lot of government municipality cleanups. We’re doing quarantine hotels; as people move out of them after being in quarantine for 14 days we have to do a head-to-toe disinfection and sterilization. We’re doing everything from police vehicles to holding cells to evidence rooms and court rooms, dealerships. You name it. On top of that we’re still doing our regular jobs, so we’re really busy.”

When Bio Clean does a job, the employees suit up from head to toe, wearing disposable coveralls and booties, goggles, gloves and protective N95 masks. But Borst said they can no longer place orders for the masks, and the homemade ones aren’t protective enough.

“We’re getting the same old, same old: ‘We’re getting them in but we have strict orders that we’re to give them to first responders only. You have to be on the Tier One list to be a first responder and you’re not considered a first responder because you’re not medical.’ Even though they have them in their warehouse we are not able to get them because we’re not considered first responders even though we’re cleaning up after first responders. I’ve contacted [Governor Jay] Inslee’s office, [Senator Patty] Murray’s, [Senator Maria] Cantwell’s. I’ve tried FEMA, I’ve tried the Department of Emergency Management. I just can’t get anywhere. They do get back to me and they say, ‘Sorry, we’re saving them for first responders.'”

Borst says her employees have to change their masks every time they come back from a break, so on average they’d go through four per person, per day.

“As an owner of a company, I’m not going to subject their health or let them go out not properly protected and take the risk of them going home sick. I just refuse. So we’ll have to eventually close down if something doesn’t open up.”

She’s hoping this story might help her connect with people who can help.

“If anybody has a stockpile, please please please please contact us. We will buy them from you. We’re not asking for free, we’re not asking for charity. We’re just asking for supplies to keep our employees safe. I would love to see the laws changed. I think those of us who are first responders to the first responders should be allowed to obtain the supplies. They’re just sitting in warehouses.”

If you have N95 masks for sale, contact [email protected]

Listen to Rachel Belle’s James Beard Award nominated podcast, “Your Last Meal,” featuring celebrities like Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard, Rainn Wilson, and Greta Gerwig. Follow @yourlastmealpodcast on Instagram & join the Quarantine Cooking Club!

  • listen to rachel belleTune in to KIRO Radio on weekdays to hear Rachel Belle.
Who is Rachel Belle?

Your Last Meal

Rachel Belle

supply chain...
Rachel Belle

Start your holiday shopping now or risk supply chain issues

Now is the time to start holiday gift shopping because if you don't buy soon, supply chain issues may make it tough to get what you want later.
10 days ago
Rachel Belle

How does Dick’s Drive-In pay workers $19 an hour with a menu completely under $5?

Dick's Drive-In recently raised its base pay, as did Taco Time, which is now offering employees $20 an hour at select locations. How do they keep prices low and pay high?
11 days ago
Rachel Belle

Don’t like how you look on Zoom? Many young Americans are now getting Botox

More people are turning to Botox to get rid of lines and wrinkles, but is it safe? How does one age naturally in a youth obsessed country? Experts weigh in.
17 days ago
certified wildlife habitat...
Rachel Belle

Turn your backyard into a Certified Wildlife Habitat

The National Wildlife Federation will help you make your yard a habitable home for bees, birds, bugs and critters. And they'll give you an official sign!
1 month ago
Emily Cherkin and Ben Gitenstein, pictured months after 9/11. (Photo courtesy of Emily Cherkin)...
Rachel Belle

‘You either got married or broke up’: 20 years later, a Seattle couple on falling in love in NYC in the wake of 9/11

On Sept. 11, 2001, Seattle's Emily Cherkin and Ben Gitenstein were 22 years old and separately taking the subway into Manhattan when two planes crashed into the Twin Towers. This is their story.
1 month ago
dirty work...
Rachel Belle

New book ‘Dirty Work’ reveals psychological toll of working unsavory jobs nobody wants

A new book by Eyal Press called "Dirty Work: Essential Jobs and the Hidden Toll of Inequality in America" takes a deeper look at jobs no one wants to do.
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles


How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Courtesy of JWatch Photography....
Experience Anacortes

Summer Fun Activities in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Marysville company that cleans up COVID-19 can’t get N95 masks