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Re: [ARSCLIST] Tapes and Mold
We recently dealt with a mold outbreak in the library here, and let me
just say, you want to do everything in your power to prevent it from
happening. I strongly urge you to isolate the moldy/potentially moldy
items in sealed plastic bags ASAP, until you decide what to do with them.
And throwing dormant spores all over the place leaves you wide open to a
major outbreak. All it takes is one day in August when your HVAC goes
out for a few hours, or the electricity goes out overnight, and you've
suddenly got a forest of fungus going all over things you didn't even
think were infested. And it just gets worse each time it happens, since
each outbreak spreads even more spores.
"wisdom" is that the tapes need to be kept below 50% RH for the fungus to
remain dormant. Some fungus, however, can become active as low as 40% RH.
The flowering heads contain the majority of the spores and, if not removed,
running the tapes over the heads during playback will cause spores to be
thrown amazing distances through the room. Inhaling dormant spores can make
you just as sick as inhaling active fragments of the flowering heads.
So do yourself a favor, and immediately bag anything you think might be
infested. And when you treat it, make sure you don't have any other
tapes in the area at a minimum (if you have a conservation lab with a
ventilation/isolation hood available, even better). This may sound a
bit paranoid, but this is one of those "ounce of prevention" situations.
Project Archivist, Muskie Archives & Special Collections
70 Campus Avenue
Lewiston, ME 04240-6018