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Subject: PVA health hazards

PVA health hazards

From: Jane Down <jane_down>
Date: Wednesday, March 29, 1995
This is in response to Susan Griffith's request for information on PVAC
health hazards and alternative adhesives.

After reading many of the MSDSs on PVACs and their additives, it appears
that the PVAC is not the major problem although the MSDSs warn that they
can be slightly to somewhat irritating to the eyes, skin and respiratory
tract. The health problems probably arise from the emulsion additives or
residual vinyl acetate monomer.  Many PVAC emulsions contain residual
vinyl acetate monomer which has been shown to cause cancerous tumors in
the respiratory tract of laboratory animals.  I believe Acts Facts wrote
something about this a few years ago.  In any case, I think Acts Facts
would be a good resource for Ms Griffith to investigate.  Dibutyl
phthlalate, a common plasticizer in PVACs, can cause irreversible
effects and is a possible teratogen.  Also some common freeze-thaw
stabilizers that are added to protect the emulsions from freezing on
shipping are known to be reproductive hazards and may cause central
nervous system disorders.  It is difficult to pin point the exact
problem.  It would be interesting to know which PVAC the employee is

As far as information on alternative adhesives is concerned, it
certainly depends on exactly what treatment Ms Griffith is talking
about.  Repair of books is quite general.  We have done much research on
PVAC and acrylic adhesives for conservation.  Some acrylics could be
useful but we would have to know the application.  We have a report on
the PVAC and acrylic research that is available upon request.  I would
suggest that Ms Griffith contact me at the address below and we could
discuss the problem and possible alternatives. I hope this will be

Jane Down
Conservation Scientist
Environment and Deterioration Research
Canadian Conservation Institute
1030 Innes Road
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0M5
Fax: 613-998-4721

                  Conservation DistList Instance 8:80
                 Distributed: Thursday, March 30, 1995
                        Message Id: cdl-8-80-002
Received on Wednesday, 29 March, 1995

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