Volume 15, Number 7
- On September 12-13, 1991, NEDCC and the Association of Research
Libraries (ARL) met in Andover to share information on mass
deacidification pilot programs. The round table was supported by a
grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Management teams from 10
ARL institutions, including library directors, collections
development officers, and preservation officers as well as other
invited speakers and observers, discussed decision-making for
incorporating a mass deacidification program as part of an
institutional preservation program.
Donald Sebera was present to report on the Library of Congress's
procedure and experience with the solicitation for mass
deacidification services, and explain why it rejected bids from all
three bidders. Selection models were presented, and categories of
materials susceptible for mass deacidification were identified.
Reports on trial treatment programs brought together data that was
shared for the first time, and the preservation administrators who
carried out these programs (Richard Frieder, James Stroud, Robert
Milevski, Scott Bennett and one or more others) will talk about
their experience with others who are considering their own program.
Gerald Garvey, in the Preservation Directorate at the Library of
Congress (202/707-5213), would like to talk to anyone who has had
There was consensus that further development of mass
deacidification was worth the time and effort, and that pilot
programs should be carried out in a coordinated way. The group
agreed to coordinate analysis of testing results and to identify
areas for further testing.
Tapes of the meeting are available now, and the minutes may be
ready for distribution as early as December. For more information,
call NEDCC (508/470-1010) and ask for the October 1991 news
- Independent evaluations of the different deacidification methods
are being done by a) Anne Lienardy in Belgium and b) Helmut Bansa in
Germany, according to Bob Wedinger of FMC. There is also c) the
study being conducted at the Canadian Conservation Institute under
the direction of Helen Burgess, for the Metropolitan Toronto
Chairman's Committee for Preserving Documentary Heritage; and d) the
Library of Congress's completed study, the data from which have been
released (AN, Oct. 1991, front page).
- At the Society of American Archivists meeting, Morris Warren was
on a deacidification panel representing the BPA process, which uses
ammonia and ethylene oxide to make ethanolamines. He mentioned that
a recent study had found that ethylene oxide, far from being the
dreadful poison we all thought it was, is actually good for you.
Subsequently he furnished this office with a copy of the study on
which he based his statement: "Mortality Among Workers Exposed to
Ethylene Oxide," by Kyle Steenland and six other people, all from
the Cincinnati NIOSH office and the National Cancer Institute; in
the New England Journal of Medicine, May 16, 199 1, p.
1402-1407. Over 18,000 workers exposed to EtO at work were studied;
overall there was no significant increase in mortality from any
cause in the study cohort, as compared with the general population.
Mortality was lower for some types of diseases, higher for others.
Clearly the results from this large-scale epidemiological study with
humans bear little relationship to the results based on the usual
animal studies. That NIOSH office, by the way, is the same one that
did the dioxin study this year, showing that even people who were
exposed to 90 times ambient levels of dioxin showed no increase in
cancer decades later. Researchers are beginning to draw the
conclusion that animal testing for toxic effects, especially with
rodents (whose bodies work differently), has been based upon false
assumptions, and a lot of previous work will have to be
- River View Binding, in Fort Pierce, Florida, is offering the FMC
deacidification process to its customers. This company specializes
in "rebinding, repair, restoration [and] paper
- The French and German national libraries are both using
deacidification methods based on magnesium compounds, in small mass
treatment plants. In addition, the Bibliotheque de France has
contracted with two companies to develop a method with the
advantages of existing methods but no disadvantages. The two
companies are Hoechst and Usine Speciale de Separation
- Two patents were taken out on the Wei T'o process, one on the
composition of the deacidifying solution (1972) and one on the
process for making the solution (1982). The first one expired in
1989, so others may now use magnesium compounds obtained
independently for book and paper treatment.