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Subject: Paintings on asbestos millboard

Paintings on asbestos millboard

From: Monona Rossol <actsnyc<-a>
Date: Sunday, May 4, 2014
Laurent Sozzani <l.sozzani<-a t->planet< . >nl> writes

>I do like and appreciate M. Rossol's great contribution regarding
>health and safety (see Conservation DistList Instance: 27:42
>Wednesday, April 30, 2014) but when we live in a world that allows
>antique violin bows, flutes and other objects to be destroyed at the
>whim of customs officers because of a small bit of ivory they may
>(or may not contain as it is often bone!) or the recently reported
>shortage of W&N #7 water-colour brushes because sable furs are now
>restricted entry into the US, whereas, Kolinsky sable brushes are
>made from weasel hairs, which are not a restricted species, you best
>deal with the paintings yourself without involvement of any
>government or other official body.
>At the Rijksmuseum there were a few paintings from the 1930's also
>on asbestos.  These were simply sealed in plastic while remaining in
>storage with a plan to eventually glaze and seal them into frames
>for storage and/or any subsequent display.  Any exposed or friable
>edges can first be locally sealed with a resin appropriate for the

My gosh!  I deal with worker health and safety.  Don't blame me for
the destruction of artifacts as a result of the international laws
protecting wildlife.

The US does most things wrong, but their asbestos regulations are
very workable.  Any older public building is supposed to have an
"asbestos management" plan.  The building is surveyed and the
sources of suspected or known asbestos are found.  If they are
friable or beyond containment they are removed.  If they can be
stabilized in place, that's OK, too. But the important issue is that
the building managers and the employees know where the stuff is so
that if there are accidents or there is a renovation planned, proper
treatment or removal can be budgeted.

I deal with this issue repeatedly on film locations as the Safety
Officer for a theatrical union.  It is common for movies to be shot
in abandoned buildings in the NYC area, and often these are full of
asbestos and have no management plan.  But before our workers go in
to build sets, tear out walls, and redecorate, I walk through with
the production team and identify all possible sources.  Either
Production or I will take samples to positively identify any
suspicious material.  When the reports come back, we can work out
how the asbestos will be removed or contained. But *in no case*,
will we consider a movie worth more than a single day of any of
their lives.  And I feel the same about museum workers.

I have no problem with a plan such as you describe for containing
the asbestos from important artifacts, *provided* there is
appropriate personal air monitoring, respiratory protection, and
protective clothing to prevent the worker from carrying fibers home.
And I would want surface dust testing in storage containers and work
areas to determine if HEPA vacuuming was efficient.  I would want
written protocols for this procedure to be consulted anytime these
artifacts were to be moved or worked on.

I do expert witness in personal injury lawsuits for workers.  Two of
my cases were for people who worked exclusively in one or more major
NYC theaters.  They were exposed to asbestos blanket that was used
to protect curtains from hot lights, from the asbestos wires on
older lighting instruments, and from the asbestos curtain.  This is
not some huge industrial exposure.  Yet, one woman and one man are
dead in their 50s. I think anyone who has talked to such people or
reviewed their video taped testimony, would ever think an artifact
or a theatrical production was very important in comparison.

                  Conservation DistList Instance 27:44
                   Distributed: Sunday, May 11, 2014
                       Message Id: cdl-27-44-002
Received on Sunday, 4 May, 2014

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