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Subject: Containers for contaminated study skins

Containers for contaminated study skins

From: George Brock-Nannestad <pattac<-a>
Date: Sunday, September 21, 2008
Irene Karsten <ikarsten [at] ualberta__net> writes

>>...  Due to
>>an upcoming move of the collection, we are just beginning to grapple
>>with issues related to the probable use of arsenic to prepare many
>>specimens in the collection.
>I would suggest to use appropriate protective clothing at any time
>while handling artifacts that are contaminated with arsenic,
>especially when no testing was carried out in advance. ...

Carefulness in handling chemicals is a good thing, but if it is
applied where uncalled for it loses its urgency and wastes time.

>... Arsenic, like all other substances that were used as
>pesticides, has a specific vapor pressure depending on the room
>temperature, etc. To my understanding only foils that are made of
>aluminum and ceramic are impermeable to any gases.

Actually, arsenic (both the trioxide and pentoxide) is a solid that
is only active in aqueous solution and it has no discernible vapour
pressure at room temperature. If you heat it enough to emit arsenic
vapours, the artefact is long gone.

So PVC containers would be quite sufficient for the suggested
purpose--they will protect against contact.

George Brock-Nannestad

                  Conservation DistList Instance 22:18
                Distributed: Sunday, September 28, 2008
                       Message Id: cdl-22-18-003
Received on Sunday, 21 September, 2008

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