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Subject: Kerosene odor in storage boxes

Kerosene odor in storage boxes

From: Ramona Duncan-Huse <rduncan>
Date: Thursday, December 3, 1998
Anne Lane <alane [at] infoave__net> writes

>Our archivist received a collection of documents that had been
>stored near a kerosene stove.  She was unaware that they had either
>absorbed an odor through proximity or that there had been actual
>contamination due to a spill; but when they had been stored in
>buffered board document boxes for a time, there was a strong
>kerosene odor whenever the boxes were opened.

Your boxes could be a fire hazard; so that alone is a good reason to
toss them. Our organization would destroy the boxes so they would
not be reused.  I know it is very tempting for organizations with
limited budgets to reuse old boxes.  For a lot of reasons, they
should not--insects find the corrugations of boxes very pleasant
places to lay their eggs.  We have retained boxes purchased as
acid-free to store degrading diacetate negatives.  Now that we have
reboxed them, the used boxes emit the vinegar smell associated with
breakdown of those materials.  Yes, it is tempting to re-use, but
not at the expense of the new materials you wish to preserve.  For
various reasons we do rebox collections.  We have offered used boxes
to smaller institutions when we rebox other collections and random
pH tests indicate them to be near neutral.

Ramona Duncan-Huse
Head of Conservation
Indiana Historical Society

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:50
                 Distributed: Tuesday, December 8, 1998
                       Message Id: cdl-12-50-011
Received on Thursday, 3 December, 1998

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