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Subject: Mold health hazards

Mold health hazards

From: Peter David Verheyen <pdv1>
Date: Monday, September 12, 1994
The following appeared on book-arts-l

    From: Rebecca B. Stone <rs4508a [at] american__edu>
    To: Multiple recipients of list <book_arts-l [at] cornell__edu>
    Subject: toxic book molds

    Greetings all!

    I have what may or may not be an unusual question, and this list
    seemed like a somewhat logical place to start my inquiry.  Recently,
    we received a gift here in the library of about 200 volumes that had
    been in the basement of a house for some time.  None of this is
    particularly unusual.  However, when I began unpacking, counting,
    sorting, etc., as I always do, I discovered something out of the
    ordinary.  I tend to be sensitive to dusts and molds (don't ask why
    I work with gift books all the live long day...) anyway, and keep a
    supply of both surgical and white cotton gloves on hand for when the
    going gets filthy.  The point here being, whatever type of mold or
    dust was on these books caused me a great deal of discomfort for
    several days: itching and coughing (it takes a special talent to
    breath bookdust, you know).  I've never encountered books that,
    well, toxic, before and wondered if anyone on the list--as many of
    you are in the preservation, etc. type fields--had any thoughts on
    the matter.  I have a feeling that there was something on the books
    besides dust, but regardless it raises larger points.  Namely, the
    glove conundrum.  If you were the cotton ones, the dust works its
    way through, but you protect the books.  If you wear surgical
    gloves, you protect your hands, but it probably is harmful to the
    books.  Does anyone have any suggestions  for ways that we can
    protect ourselves AND the gift books?  Suggestions also be sent
    directly to me at rs4508a [at] american__edu.  I would appreciate any
    thoughts/ ideas/comments anyone has on the subject that might help.

    Rebecca Stone, Collection Development Asst.
    The American University Library, Washington,D.C.
    rs4508a [at] AMERICAN__EDU

Peter D. Verheyen
Rare Books Conservator
Cornell University Library
B-39 Olin Library
Ithaca, NY 14850
Fax: 607-255-9346

                  Conservation DistList Instance 8:19
               Distributed: Wednesday, September 14, 1994
                        Message Id: cdl-8-19-014
Received on Monday, 12 September, 1994

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