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Subject: Creosote vapors

Creosote vapors

From: Rachel White <rachel.white>
Date: Friday, October 15, 2004
Wendy Claire Jessup <prevcon [at] earthlink__net> writes

>Has anyone done any research on the affects of creosote vapors on
>furnishings, paintings, textiles, etc.?  I am working on a
>conservation assessment for an historic house museum where in the
>1960s the joists in the dirt crawlspace beneath the house were
>replaced by joists treated with creosote.  40 years later the
>creosote odor is very strong on the first floor of the building. The
>building is located in an area with high ambient RH year-round.   I
>have found references to human health only and have reviewed MSDS
>for creosote-coated wood products and information on products of
>combustion when creosote-treated wood is burned.  Any help/advice
>you can give me will be greatly appreciated.

Although I've not had any experience in this type of issue (despite
the unpleasant experience of visiting a creosote production plant),
I did have a quick check on SciFinder Scholar. You may have already
checked this source but I thought I'd send what I found. There isn't
much, the only reference (from CAplus - Chemical Abstracts Plus)
that sounded particularly useful:

    Penetrability of ordinary paper under the influence of lipids
    in liquid or vapor form. Devaux, Henri. Compt. rend.
    (1952), 234-685-9. Journal language unavailable. CAN
    46:34294 AN 1952:34294 CAPLUS

        Abstract: Water penetrates into paper wet with an oil but
        does not penetrate when the paper is treated with a solid or
        semisolid lipid, such as stearic acid or petrolatum. Vapors
        of organic liquids (such as C6H6, toluene, Et2O, petroleum
        ether, or creosote) likewise aid penetration when H2O is
        already in contact with the paper, whereas vapors of solids
        (such as camphor) render the paper impermeable.  Paper in
        contact with H2O exposed to vapors of liquids and then dried
        remains permeable to water for many years.  If dry paper is
        exposed to vapors, it remains impermeable.

The search terms were "conservation objects affected by creosote
vapours" and returned 87 references much of them related to wood
preservation. If you are not familiar with SciFinder Scholar it is
available through most university libraries and covers broad range
of scientific journals. Hopefully this will be of some use to you,

The other two references:

    Effect of creosote and gasoline vapors on mushrooms. Read, W. H.
    Exptl. Research Sta., Turner's Hill, Cheshunt, Herts, Ann. Rept.
    (1941), Volume Date 1940, 26-59-60. Journal language
    unavailable. CAN 36:8911 AN 1942:8911 CAPLUS

        Abstract: A peculiar distorted woody condition of mushrooms,
        in which the stems were greatly enlarged, the caps were in
        many cases small and split, and the gills were practically
        nonexistent, could not be traced to the presence of creosote
        acids, creosote neutral oils, creosote or gasoline in
        prepns. used as preservatives for the bed boards and
        superstructure of the mushroom house. In many cases,
        however, the young mushrooms were killed by the vapors of
        these substances and occasionally where the amt. applied was
        small the caps of white mushrooms were browned. The order of
        toxicity was creosote acids, creosote, creosote neutral oils
        and gasoline.

    Effects of creosote and CCA on moisture movement in southern
    pine and red oak. Hornicsar, Carole A.; Blankenhorn, Paul R.;
    Webb, David A. Sch. Forest Reso., Pennsylvania State Univ.,
    University Park, PA, USA. Wood and Fiber Science (1987), 19(1),
    1-8. CODEN: WFSCD4 ISSN: 0735-6161. Journal written in English.
    CAN 106:103992 AN 1987:103992 CAPLUS

        Abstract: A vapocup apparatus was used to deterioration
        rates of moisture movement and water vapor permeability
        values of red oak and southern pine treated with 6.4 kg/m3
        chromates Cu arsenate (CCA) or 168.2 kg/m3 creosote loading.
        The rates of mass transfer increased exponentially with
        increasing relative humidity (50-90%). The rate of moisture
        movement was greater for southern pine then for red oak, and
        greater for CCA-treated specimens than for creosote-treated
        specimens. The water-vapor permeability values were calcd.
        and the values increased exponentially as relative humidity
        increased. For both species, CCA-treated specimens had the
        highest water-vapor permeability values and creosote-treated
        specimens the lowest.

Rachel White
PhD Student
Microstructural Analysis Unit
University of Technology Sydney Sydney, Australia

                  Conservation DistList Instance 18:19
                 Distributed: Monday, October 25, 2004
                       Message Id: cdl-18-19-001
Received on Friday, 15 October, 2004

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