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Subject: Conservation of spray paint cans

Conservation of spray paint cans

From: Elizabeth Wild <ewild>
Date: Tuesday, December 17, 1996
Peter Simmons <mcny [at] pop__interport__net> writes

>The Museum of the City of New York has recently been offered a
>collection of old spray-paint cans that were used by NYC graffiti
>writers.  Does anyone out there have any ideas what
>conservation/safety risks these cans (Rustoleum, Krylon, Red Devil,
>etc.) might present or what we could do to safely store them for the

I am a conservator at the Museum of Victoria. I recently worked on a
hazardous materials project which included a number of aerosol cans
filled with cleaning products, suntan lotion, air freshener and leather
dye. Some of the cans were showing signs of deterioration. It was
decided, after consulting curators that the cans would be emptied. This
decision was based on a number of factors including: if the can
accidentally discharged, their contents had the capacity to damage and
stain many surrounding objects, and being pressurised containers (which
were deteriorating), they may explode at any time.

The other issue was the status of the contents of the cans. The
curators here decided that the object's packaging was more
important than the contents and that if contents were threatening
the packaging then they should be discarded.

Perhaps you could discharge the contents into a container which may
be retained. We discharged the cans ourselves in a fume hood, into
containers which were then disposed of by a chemical disposal
company. Before we discharged the cans we contacted various
environmental and aerosol agencies which recommended we discharge
them ourselves as they did not have the facilities to discharge such
a small amount without destroying the container. I would be happy to
answer any other queries. Good luck,

Liz Wild

                  Conservation DistList Instance 10:58
                Distributed: Tuesday, December 17, 1996
                       Message Id: cdl-10-58-008
Received on Tuesday, 17 December, 1996

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