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Subject: PVA health hazards

PVA health hazards

From: Mark Vine <100436.3447>
Date: Monday, April 3, 1995
I have received the following fax from Tony Bingham, Divisional
Product Assurance Manager, Adhesives-Europe of the National Starch &
Chemical Company, manufacturers of PVA adhesives used in the
bookbinding world, in respect of Susan Griffiths's article.

    PVAc adhesives do not normally classify as "hazardous" unless
    they contain organic solvents above certain levels. The safety
    data sheet accompanying the product should highlight whether
    solvents are used but the use of solvents in these types of
    products has reduced dramatically over the past few years. PVAc
    products contain residual levels of free monomer(typically
    <0.5%), as does emulsion paint, and other volatile organic
    compounds some of which will only come off if the product is
    heated (eg for drying). These can cause respiratory and eye
    irritation in confined spaces but the symptoms do not persist
    when the cause is removed. Assuming these products are used with
    good ventilation, our experience has shown that PVAc's are
    relatively safe. We have not come across problems of the nature
    described, unfortunately we have no documented study references
    we can point you towards but perhaps the National Poisons Unit
    at Guy's Hospital, London. Tel +44(0)171 955 5000 may be able to
    help further.

Mark Vine
Conservation Resources, England

                  Conservation DistList Instance 8:85
                  Distributed: Sunday, April 23, 1995
                        Message Id: cdl-8-85-001
Received on Monday, 3 April, 1995

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