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

Subject: Mothballs


From: Elaine Hodges <mnhen039>
Date: Wednesday, October 25, 1995
Regarding the use of "mothballs" in collections:  Mothballs can be
either naphthalene or PDB (paradichlorbenzene).  Naphthalene only
covers the smell of material, thus "hiding" it from live insects
that might want to eat it--we use it in the Entomology collection to
hide the smell of dead insects that the live ones like to eat--but
naphthalene will not kill insects.  PDB will kill insects.  Both are
thought by various authorities to have harmful effects on humans,
and our Entomology Department decided PDB was worse than naphthalene,
thus we use naphthalene.   However, I know one
pediatrician/entomologist who thinks naphthalene is pretty bad.  I
must point out that entomologists who live with naphthalene all the
time have very long life spans, often working actively well into
their 80's or older. As I remember, PDB may cause liver damage.

Elaine R.S. Hodges
Scientific Illustrator
MRC 169, Rm. W-622
Smithsonian Institution
Washington, DC 20560, USA
Fax: 202-786-2894

                  Conservation DistList Instance 9:37
                Distributed: Thursday, October 26, 1995
                        Message Id: cdl-9-37-011
Received on Wednesday, 25 October, 1995

[Search all CoOL documents]