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Subject: Books with mercury salts

Books with mercury salts

From: Tsolis Efstathios <stathis.tsolis<-a>
Date: Friday, October 31, 2008
Eugenia Stamatopoulou <stamatopoulou [at] deste__gr> writes

>We found in our collections some books treated in the past for
>desinfection with mercury salts. We have an urgent need to clean up
>the residues of the salts and for this reason we request any
>information about how to proceed and if anybody has developed a
>technique for this (special filters etc.), since the mercury is an
>extremely hazardous material for human health.

The conservators of Victoria and Albert Museum have successfully
dealt with mercury salts in felt hats. I would recommend  reading
the article "COSHH does work" publicly available at V&A's website


and maybe contact the authors.

    **** Moderator's comments: The above URL has been wrapped for
    email. There should be no newline.

Although I haven't personally faced situations with mercury salts, I
am familiar with mercury containing objects and I assume that the
risk assessment process should be similar. A COSHH assessment on
Mercury Salts can be a good indicator for the appropriate PPE that
the personnel should wear such as overalls, masks with appropriate
Hg respirators and nitrile gloves. Make sure that the people
involved will read your risk assessment and your method statement
and will understand all risks associated with the work. A vacuum
cleaner equipped with Class H HEPA filters should be used to remove
dusty by-products (Shadow vacuum technique by holding the nozzle of
a Type H (BS 5415) vacuum cleaner adjacent to the point of
disturbance). Traditional materials (rubber trim) might be used
provided that they will be disposed in accordance with regulations
(dispose double-wrapped in polythene bags with appropriate warning
signs and in accordance with EU regulations). Depending the duration
of the treatment, staff might have to undertake medical tests.
Finally, the treated object should be marked as hazardous, as it
might contain traces of Hg. It should be stored isolated (eg.g
inside archive box with Hg warning sign outside) and handled only in
well ventilated areas and with appropriate PPE worn.

To summarise,

    1.  COSHH on mercury salts
    2.  Risk assessment, method statement
    3.  Personnel to read and understand above documents
    3.  Treatment using shadow vacuum technique
    4.  Dispose treatment by-products in compliance with EU
    5.  Classify object as hazardous, store in isolation, handle
        wearing PPE

Do not hesitate to contact me for additional advise, COSHH layout
and H&S products suppliers.

Stathis Tsolis
the National Railway Museum
Leeman Road,
York YO24 4XJ
+44 194 685 753

                  Conservation DistList Instance 22:26
                 Distributed: Sunday, November 2, 2008
                       Message Id: cdl-22-26-003
Received on Friday, 31 October, 2008

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