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Subject: Microwave fumigation

Microwave fumigation

From: Roberta Pilette <bm.hsz>
Date: Wednesday, August 7, 1991
Someone mentioned the use of a home microwave to kill bugs in books.  I
strongly discourage such use for a variety of reasons the first being
the possible damage done to the paper at the fiber level.  Other reasons
include the reaction of glues to microwaving also other components of
the binding may curl or cockle due to moisture being driven from them.
However, in my file of Horrors I did run across a short article from the
NY Post, March 27, 1989 where two forestry professors at Syracuse
University had talked about preserving books by tossing them in a
microwave and "nuke 'em for a minute".  They did mention that some of
the glues melt and any metal associated with the book causes sparking
and they did have a few problems with charring the covers!!! but they
felt that they were close to practical use.  It was a very short
article, but there was no mention of the effect on the paper.  PLEASE do
not try this.

If the problem is a single book, there are other ways of dealing with
bugs or mold. I suggest contacting a book conservator in your area.

Bobbie Pilette
N-Y Historical Society

                  Conservation DistList Instance 5:14
                  Distributed: Friday, August 9, 1991
                        Message Id: cdl-5-14-001
Received on Wednesday, 7 August, 1991

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