Conservation DistList Archives [Date] [Subject] [Author] [SEARCH]

Subject: Body fluids

Body fluids

From: Shannon Zachary <szachary>
Date: Saturday, September 30, 1995
Re: Biologically contaminated books

Occasionally there have been questions on the list about what to do
with library materials that have been soiled with body fluids
(blood, semen, vomit, urine, etc.) We recently had such an incident
and I contacted University of Michigan Biosafety Officer Mike Hanna
for help developing a policy for handling such material. I'll share
with you the procedures we have established; because regulations may
vary from place to place I strongly recommend that you check with
local officials before writing your own policy.

Generally, Mr. Hanna informs me, small quantities of dry
contaminants are a low safety hazard; large or moist soiled areas,
however, may pose a potential infection source to staff or patrons.
Disposal is recommended for heavily soiled materials; disinfection,
when possible, is the preferred method for handling lightly
contaminated materials. For disposal purposes, contaminated books
and parts do not constitute regulated waste. Soiled paper or book
covers may be discarded in the regular trash without special
procedures. You should avoid direct contact with the soiled parts of
the books, using latex gloves if necessary.

We have recommended that library staff, when confronted with a
soiled book, consider the following options:

    *   Discard the book and seek a replacement copy; this option is
        strongly recommended if there is heavy soiling;

    *   If only a few pages are soiled, secure photocopies of the
        damaged pages; cut out the soiled pages and tip in the

    *   If only the cover is soiled, cut off the covers and discard
        them; arrange with a binder to have the book recased.

Circulation desks should keep latex gloves and resealable plastic
bags on hand for handling and isolating soiled books.

If it is not appropriate to discard and replace the soiled parts of
a book, it *may* be possible to disinfect them. Mr. Hanna suggested
three disinfectants that are used for blood/body fluid spill
disinfection: bleach, diluted 1:100 fresh daily (500 ppm);
Quaternary ammonium compound (e.g. Virex); and 70% Isopropyl
alcohol. Bleach will cause deterioration of paper and other book
materials over time; I am not familiar with quaternary ammonium
compound; isopropyl alcohol MAY be safe on some materials, but it
may cause some inks or colors to bleed. Disinfection in this case is
clearly a job for a trained conservator and should not be attempted
by untrained staff.

Shannon Zachary
Conservation & Book Repair
University of Michigan Library

                  Conservation DistList Instance 9:31
                Distributed: Wednesday, October 4, 1995
                        Message Id: cdl-9-31-001
Received on Saturday, 30 September, 1995

[Search all CoOL documents]