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Subject: Lysol


From: Glenda Stevens <g.stevens>
Date: Monday, November 16, 1998
Our use of Lysol has been confined to wiping the metal shelving from
which moldy books had been removed for cleaning either with a HEPA
vacuum cleaner or brushing and lightly wiping with an alcohol
solution before their replacement on the shelf.  It was recommended
to us for that purpose because of its ingredient orthophenyl phenol.
Today, I understand [Mary-Lou Florian. Heritage eaters: insects &
fungi in heritage collections. James & James. London, 1997: p.149]
Lysol no longer contains that ingredient.  However, Lysol still
continues to be recommended for cleanup of contaminated floors and
shelves but not artifacts.

   "19.4.1 Advantages and disadvantages of the use of fungicidal
    chemicals and fumigants

    There are many reports which suggest the use of fungicides for
    mould control on leather and parchment.  Calnan (1985) lists 30
    fungicides used in conservation, reported in 34 reference papers
    covering the years 1945-1983. He also reported on tests of the
    effectiveness of 36 commercial fungicides used on wet
    chrome-tanned or vegetable-tanned commercial leather in storage.

    Calnan (1985) cautioned conservators that the fungicides used
    must be inert to the object and not interfere with subsequent
    treatment or research analysis, be safe to use and must be
    extractable; but this information is not available.

    Another problem with using commercial products is the change in
    formulations over the years.  One example is the use of the
    commercial spray called 'Lysol'.  It was recommended by Florian
    in 1976 because at that time it contained orthophenyl phenol and
    ethyl alcohol, but today 'Lysol' does not contain these same
    chemicals. The use of trade name products is also misleading;
    again with 'Lysol', the word lysol is a synonym for carbolic
    acid which was not present in the commercial product.  Today we
    realize that the value of such commercial products may be in the
    clean-up of contaminated storage shelves and floors but not on
    artifacts.  Even then, when they are used, if they are
    registered legally (by COSHH-UK [Control of Substances Hazardous
    to Health] in the UK, by EPA [Environmental Protection Agency]
    in the USA and by PCPA [Pest Control Products Act] in Canada)
    they must be used only according to label directions.

    Another problem with the use of toxic chemicals is the health
    hazard to people using the chemicals, and subsequent use of the
    objects. . . . The use of a fungicide makes the handling and
    cleaning of objects a health hazard.

    Under selection of fungicides, Calnan (1985) stated that the
    simplest way to prevent fungal attack is environmental control
    and that fungicidal protection is only needed when leather is to
    remain wet or at a high relative humidity for more than a few
    weeks.  The above information on the numbers of fungicides and
    lack of information on material interaction and safety issues
    makes it obvious that controlling the moisture in the materials
    is the easiest approach."  (pp.149-50)

The citation for Calnan that she refers to is :

    Calnan, C.N. 1985. Fungicides Use on Leather. The Leather
    Conservation Centre, Northampton.

Glenda B. Stevens
Jim Wright Archivist
Texas Christian University
Box 298400
Fort Worth, TX 76129
Fax: 817-257-7282

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:46
                 Distributed: Monday, November 23, 1998
                       Message Id: cdl-12-46-002
Received on Monday, 16 November, 1998

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