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Subject: Synperonic N

Synperonic N

From: John Fields <jfields>
Date: Monday, March 27, 2000
On the recent Synperonic debate:

The phasing out of the use of Nonylphenol Ethoxylates under the EC
PARCOM directive(1) for industrial cleaning by 2000 meant the end of
Synperonic N due to its lengthy biodegradation time and the fact
that the products of this breakdown were more harmful that the
original chemical (oestragen mimic). The announcement was made to
the conservation community by Dr. Vincent Daniels(2).

The task of finding a replacement is daunting with over 30,000
surfactants produced worldwide(3), and has been taken up by the
Conservation Research group at the British Museum, in conjunction
with conservators from the BM, V&A and Hampton Court Palace. The
ideal replacement will have similar properties to Synperonic N, and
conform to biodegradability legislation(4). Numerous samples have
been collected and a work program devised.

The first stage of the work is to screen up to 12 surfactants using
a simple suite of test procedures, identifying 4-6 which conform to
an agreed selection criteria.  These will be subjected to a more
rigorous testing procedure to identify the most suitable
replacement(s) for Synperonic N.   It is hoped that testing will
result in a suite of surfactants suitable for use on a variety of
textiles and hard surfaces.

1. PARCOM directive 92/8.

2. Daniels, V., UKIC Conservation News, 68, March 1999 and Paper
Conservation News, 68, March 1999.

3. McCutcheon's Emulsifiers and Detergents 1998: International
Edition, Vol. 1.

4. EC Directive 82/42.

John Fields,
Conservation Scientist,
Conservation Research Dept.,
The British Museum,
London WC1B 3DG.
+44 171 3238174
Fax: +44 171 3238636

                  Conservation DistList Instance 13:49
                 Distributed: Thursday, March 30, 2000
                       Message Id: cdl-13-49-002
Received on Monday, 27 March, 2000

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