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Subject: Offgassing from plywood shelving

Offgassing from plywood shelving

From: Claudius Schettini <claudius>
Date: Saturday, July 31, 1999
Barbara Appelbaum and others have correctly addressed the issue of
having plants, with all associated microenvironmental problems,
inside a library's reading room to mitigate the formaldehyde and
other gases' emissions. After cleaning more than 4500 antique
volumes of scientific editions for the past month and being informed
of the design of the new shelving--"old fashioned", the kind with
open doors covered with mesh wire --the only suggestion I could make
was to make use of "laced" active charcoal bags behind the books,
and covering shelves with good  archival quality paper, both to be
changed periodically for the next year or so.Then again there will
be a month's time before the books are placed on the shelves and
that might somehow help with the amount of gasses that will
certainly be absorbed by the various materials that make up the

The finishing coating cannot be changed, the shelving comes already
with a polyurethane based varnish.

The other important issue is, obviously, lack of specialized
planning beforehand. When decisions are made and imposed from
"above", by non specialized persons and when reasons other than
technical are  viewed as more important than the preservation of the
collections, the results are like the case I exposed to the list
members. The only meeting where the issue of offgassing by
inappropriate materials was raised by me created the effect already
mentioned in Appelbaum's posting: discomfort by the personnel after
being warned, by someone who is not part of the staff, of the
troubles they were going to face due to their faulty choice. Now
comes the fixing.

                  Conservation DistList Instance 13:12
                 Distributed: Wednesday, August 4, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-13-12-004
Received on Saturday, 31 July, 1999

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