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Subject: Elephant trunk ventilation systems

Elephant trunk ventilation systems

From: Niccolo Caldararo <caldararo>
Date: Tuesday, August 7, 2001
Heather Place <conservator [at] wag__mb__ca> writes

>We are currently undergoing upgrading to our conservation lab, and
>after years of our fume extraction system not functioning correctly,
>we are working to rectify the problem. We are currently looking at
>ways to improve our existing elephant trunks and were wondering if
>anyone has any suggestions.
>Is there anything new on the market that anyone has experience with?
>I have heard that they now come with lights on the end. This would
>be very helpful.

Your consultant should be telling you that the elephant trunk is
only effective right over the area of application and evaporation.
There is a common misunderstanding among conservators that if you
have the fume hood running or the elephant trunks near a
conservation treatment that you are not breathing fumes.  This is a
false impression!  I have seen people working with the fume hood
door up, hunched over an object using a solvent and the person
involved thinks they are safe.

The fact is that the volume of air moving over the area of work is
subject to eddies and back movement.  The hood door should always be
down with room for your hands to work on the object (with gloves)
and your face outside.  Trunks should be directed over the area of
application, I have seen people working with the trunks on overhead
and no one using respirators. This is not safe.

I use a respirator most of the time when using solvents, but I also
use a PACE evac extractor trunk operating over the area of
application.  Depending on the solvent I will sometimes use both. It
is bothersome to wear a respirator, but I know that I should have
been more careful in the past and still sometimes find myself
working without one.  A fumehood or trunk is often times simply a
means to give one a false sense of security and an excuse for risky

I think Joyce Hill Stoner once gave a talk on the diseases which
killed conservators, as I recall many were respiratory, still one
must keep in mind that your skin breathes too.

Niccolo Caldararo
Director and Chief Conservator
Conservation Art Service

                  Conservation DistList Instance 15:15
                 Distributed: Wednesday, August 8, 2001
                       Message Id: cdl-15-15-001
Received on Tuesday, 7 August, 2001

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