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Subject: Removing labels from vinyl

Removing labels from vinyl

From: Lisa Mibach <perygrine>
Date: Saturday, December 5, 1992
In 92-09-13.dst hh9503 [at] albnyvms__bitnet wrote:

>I work in a small special library that has lots of self-published and
>unpublished materials in vinyl covered 3-ring binders.  The ordinary
>sticky labels that were used to put the titles, etc on the spines have
>become slick-gooy with age (and most are NOT more than 2 years old)
>and peeled.  Someone before me had covered many with wide 3M clear
>tape, but too is peeling and leaving a goo that't tough to clean off.
>I know, I know: why not just transfer contents to new binders with
>clear plastic outside sleeves? You know, you know the answer: $$$$.
>Are funding just doesn't presently allow.
>So, any suggestions on how to clean off the goo? (With A LOT of elbow
>grease, a gum eraser sort-of works).  And, what will stick to that
>disgustingly inert vinyl.  Epoxy?

arrrrggghhhhh! those covers are NOT "disgustingly inert vinyl" !! they
are disgustingly _ert_ vinyl, {aka poly vinyl chloride) which should be
banned from all preservation centers because it

a) liberates hydrochloric acid as it degrades (you can smell it)

b) the plasticizer which keeps it flexible oozes out (you may have met
it in the vapor transfer phase as the funny scum which forms on the
inside of windshields of new cars; I  believe it to be in fact the
source of "new car smell"); this plasticizer has been seen to dissolve
the emulsion off slides. (Yes, you know it from non-archival slide
storage pages, too.)

I would view the presence of deteriorating vinyl almost on a par with
mold, and feel that it warrants urgent fund-finding to replace the nasty
stuff. With what? Most large office supply companies (such as Quill, the
mail-order company) sell polypropylene binders, which may even be
cheaper than yucky vinyl.

And, since you want to get rid of all of it, including the slide storage
pages, here is how to test: (thanks to Scott Williams, of CCI, for this
Beilstein Test)

1) In a fire-safe place (outside? but needs dim light), with
extinguisher at the ready, heat a copper wire in a propane torch (Bic
lighters are not hot enough) until the accumulated dirt burns off and
the wire glows red.

2) Plunge the hot wire into a sample of the suspect plastic, wiggling it
around to get a bit of the melted material on the wire.

3) Plunge the wire plus goo back into the torch flame and watch the
color. Polyethylene and polypropylene cause no color change, but pvc
glows weird green, not unlike the northern lights.  Naturally, if you
try this first with a known sample, you will quickly learn to recognize
the green.

Onwards in the fight against pvc!

Lisa Mibach

                  Conservation DistList Instance 6:31
                 Distributed: Sunday, December 6, 1992
                        Message Id: cdl-6-31-007
Received on Saturday, 5 December, 1992

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