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Subject: Smoke and soot

Smoke and soot

From: Andrea Reichert <aj_reichert<-a>
Date: Saturday, April 9, 2005
I am writing for some professional advice concerning the lasting
effects of exposure to smoke and soot particles. A family member
recently suffered a personal tragedy when a fire broke out in her
kitchen, destroying everything in it and exposing the rest of her
home and belongings to heavy soot and smoke.

Most of the affected materials were sent to two reputable disaster
recovery companies--one for textiles, the other for furniture,
equipment and all other objects. The latter items are to be
mechanically cleaned followed by ozone treatment, while the textiles
will be undergoing chemical treatment(s) (the details of which I
don't know at this time). Family heirlooms and personal documents,
items I did not want being subjected to ozone treatment, were kept
behind for me to treat individually in my studio.

It may be sometime before we know if any of her belongings are even
salvageable but we are already concerned about the possibility of
the odour returning. I've done some preliminary research on the
Internet, and through CoOL, but have yet to come up with any
definitive answers to my questions; I've also received conflicting
reports from individuals who've been through similar situations and
who've seen the odour return a year after having undergone
treatment. While I recognize that soot particles, and the source of
the offending odour are complex, and that factors such as exposure
time, material type and treatment type all play into the success of
the treatment, I wonder if we can make any generalizations about the
odour returning or if we should even be concerned at all?

Andrea Reichert
Paper Conservator in private practice
Montreal, Quebec

                  Conservation DistList Instance 18:49
                 Distributed: Thursday, April 14, 2005
                       Message Id: cdl-18-49-020
Received on Saturday, 9 April, 2005

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