Health & Safety

Bibliographic Resources and Resource Guides
Material Safety Data Sheets
Waste Disposal & Materials Handling
American Institute for Conservation (AIC)
Western Association for Art Conservation (WAAC)
Resources at other sites

Bibliographic Resources and Resource Guides

Emily Holmes
Ergonomics Bibliography

Jessup, Wendy Integrated Pest Management: A Selected Bibliography for Collections Care

Material Safety Data Sheets

Most MSDSs are under copyright, so access to them online is normally restricted by site licenses. A few institutions have made public domain MSDSs available, but pay special attention to the date of revision, as some of these are rather old.


See also
WAAC Newsletter, below

Mold as a Threat to Human Health, Abbey Newsletter Volume 18, Number 6, Oct 1994

Canadian Conservation Institute's Recommendations for Handling Potential Biohazards
This document, written for CCI employees, provides guidelines for handling materials which may have come into contact with human remains and/or body fluids and may present a potential biohazard to the employee(s) handling it. It focuses on documents and logbooks from air crashes/shipwrecks/train crashes, but the principles are broadly applicable (thanks to David Tremain for providing this document

Hilary Kaplan
Mold: A Follow-up


See also Bibliographic Resources and Resource Guides, above

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
Laboratory Ergonomics

An information delivery system containing ergonomics standards and guidelines, background information, job review and analysis tools and checklists, biomechanical analysis tools, case studies, and a wealth of other ergonomics resources

See especially Reference Materials and News

Safe ComputingTips
Focuses on computing and office ergonomics, but has some informatation of more general interest

Ozone generators
See Environmental Monitoring and Control

See also
WAAC Newsletter, below

Waste Disposal & Materials Handling

Angela Babin and Michael McCann
Waste Management and Disposal for Artists and Schools

M. Gagelmann, et al.
First results of a pilot decontamination in a PCP polluted building by means of a humidity controlled thermal process

Up till the early Eighties preventative treatments of construction and ancillary materials even in interiors and of wooden and textile objects as well as those made of, e.g., paper and leather as a precaution against insect and fungal attack used to be carried out using pentachlorphenol (PCP) as active ingredient. PCP evaporation from such large material surfaces treated in such a manner can reach levels of concentration even today which are still hazardous to human health It is possible to record even today very high levels of interior contamination from pentachlorphenol (PCP) particularly in buildings of historical significance with many wooden interior fittings.

It is possible to record even today very high levels of interior contamination from pentachlorphenol (PCP) particularly in buildings of historical significance with many wooden interior fittings. There are as yet no appropriate methods to decontaminate protected historic buildings or objects.... It was therefore the aim of the investigation to test the application of a new humidity-controlled thermal process with which it is possible to evaporate out the volatile wood preserver ingredients contained in the surfaces to be treated....

American Institute for Conservation (AIC)

AIC Wiki - Health & Safety Guides
Heavy Metals, their Salts, and other Compounds
Health and Safety in Emergency Response
Fall Protection; Working Safely at Heights
A Conservator's Guide to Labeling Hazardous Chemicals
Health and Safety Technical Resources on Pesticides for the Conservator
Air Monitoring Guide
A Conservator's Guide to Respiratory Protection
From Cradle to Grave: Waste Management for Conservators
Set Up for a Safe Space: A Chemical Hygiene Plan
Biological Monitoring in the Workplace
Health and Safety Technical Resources for the Conservator

AIC News
Guides: Special pullout sections from the newsletter
Heavy Metals, their Salts, and other Compounds
> Additional Material: Chart of Heavy Metals, Their Salts, and Other Compounds
Health and Safety in Emergency Response, November 2007
Fall Protection; Working Safely at Heights, November 2006
A Conservator's Guide to Labeling Hazardous Chemicals, September 2005
Health and Safety Technical Resources on Pesticides for the Conservator, September 2004
Air Monitoring Guide, November 2003
A Conservator's Guide to Respiratory Protection, September 2002
From Cradle to Grave: Waste Management for Conservators, November 2001
Set Up for a Safe Space: A Chemical Hygiene Plan, July 2000
Biological Monitoring in the Workplace, November 1999
Health and Safety Technical Resources for the Conservator, July 1998
Solvents Considered at AIC Annual Meeting in Dallas, September, 2001

Western Association for Art Conservation Newsletter

Chris Stavroudis writes a regular regular column on health and safety issues as they pertain to the work of conservators. In addition, WAAC has published quite a few feature articles on health issues.


State Solid and Hazardous Waste Agencies, WAAC Newsletter, v.6, n.3, Sept. 1984, p.14

A listing of information numbers at state agencies responsible for the proper disposal of waste materials. Along with the state contacts is an indication of whether the state regulations for small quantity generators are similar to federal regulations (A), more stringent than the federal rules (B), or do not recognize the federal exemption for small quantity generators (C).

Caroline Black & Chris Stavroudis
Hazardous Waste Disposal, WAAC Newsletter, v.6, n.2, May 1984, pp.8-13.

"Hazardous Waste Disposal" is based on an interview with Dr.R. Nichols Hazelwood. Before the interview he was given a list of 65 chemicals most commonly used by conservators.

Zora Sweet Pinney
Legislative Update: Call for Action, WAAC Newsletter, v.6, n.3, Sep 1984, p.12.

Two bills, Nos. 3438 and 3439, have passed the California assembly and have proceeded through the Finance Committee. The journey through the Finance Committee was enhanced by the fact that no funds are allocated for either bill. Bill No. 3438 deals with labeling of art and craft materials for chronic toxicity hazards for adults and bill No. 3439 addresses the same problem for children.

"Zora's Column: Comments on 'The Artist's Complete Health and Safety Guide,' by Monona Rossol--or--Rushing into the Arms of Panic?", WAAC Newsletter, v.13, n.2, May 1991, pp.24-25.

Chris Stavroudis
How and Where to Find Information on Hazardous Materials, WAAC Newsletter, v6. n.2, May 1984, pp.13-14

Rosamond Westmoreland
Cumulative Trauma Disorders: Some Cautions for Conservators, WAAC Newsletter, v.15, n.2, May 1993

For anyone whose livelihood is dependent on manual dexterity, a problem with the hand is a major threat. It also can be something that is completely unanticipated. Recently, however, the ailment known as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome has been the subject of numerous articles which describe the symptoms as well as explain its occurrence. The incidence of the diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome and the frequency of wrist surgery escalated dramatically during the 1980s, and it now accounts for nearly 40% of all worker compensation claims.

Health & Safety Columns

Chris Stavroudis, column editor
Volume 20, Number 1, Jan 1998
Lead, poisons
Volume 19, Number 2, May 1997
Exposure to lead
Volume 19, Number 1, January 1997
Volume 18, Number 3, September 1996
Volume 18, Number 2, May 1996
Estrogen mimics
Volume 18, Number 1, January 1996
Volume 17, Number 3, September 1995
mostly about latex allergies
v.17, n1, Jan 1995
The Topic is Estrogenic Chemicals
v17, n2, May 1995, May 1995
v.10, n.1, Jan. 1988
v.10, n.2, May 1988
California's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65) plus insert sheet with the text of the Act.

v. 10, n.3, Sept 1988
American Chemical Society Annual Meeting
Safety Issues in the Practice of Art and Art Conservation

v.11, n.1, Jan. 1989
v.11, n.2, May 1989
Dioxins from Bleaching?

v.11, n.3, Sept 1989
v.12, n.2, May 1990
Hazard Communication--Your 'Right to Know'. In 1983, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) promulgated the Hazard Communication Standard, 29 (CFR) 1910.1200. This regulation is often referred to as the Employee "Right-To-Know" law. All businesses, large and small, in all industries were required to be in compliance with this law by May of 1988.

v.13, n.2, May 1991
An Unsound Mind in a Healthier Body

v.13, n.3, Sept 1991
v.14, n.3, Sept 1992
A Renewed Interest in Health and Safety

v.15, n.1, Jan 1993
Errors Big and Errors Small

v.15, n.2, May 1993
Facts about Cumulative Trauma Disorders. Information on carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) and other repetitive stress injuries (RSI) or cumulative trauma disorders (CTD).

v.16, n.1, Jan. 1994
v.16, n.2, May 1994


Resources at other sites

Arts Crafts $amp; Theater Safety (ACTS)
"ACTS is a not-for-profit corporation that provides health, safety, industrial hygiene, technical services, and safety publications to the arts, crafts, museums, and theater communities. ... ". The president, Monona Rossol, is a chemist, artist, and industrial hygienist

Site includes ACTS Hotline. "ACTS provides a worldwide free information service by phone, mail, and e-mail providing: professional safety and industrial hygiene advice; copies of educational materials; referrals to doctors and other and sources of help. ACTS answers an average of 35 inquiries per day without cost." Publishes ACTS Facts and Data Sheets and books, including:

181 Thompson St., #23
New York NY 10012
212 777-0062

Hassan Bolourchi
Pay Attention to Books' Deadly Dust: Relationship of Lung Cancer and Heart Attack to Library Books' Dust

California State University - Monterrey Bay
Environmental Protection, Health & Safety

See especially

Chicago Artists Resource
General Safety and Health

" exists as a starting point for those searching for safety information on the internet.... is a unique human-edited directory of sites that relate to occupational health and safety, and nothing else. The site editors are professionals experienced in safety & health and industrial hygiene."

The Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory, Oxford University

Risk Phrases
EC Safety Phrases
Chemical Resistant Gloves Guide (by glove material)
Chemical Resistant Gloves Guide (by chemical)
Incompatible chemicals
Materials liable to form peroxides in storage
Shock Sensitive Materials
Known and Suspected Carcinogens
UK Maximum Exposure Limits

Safety Information Resources on the InterNet, A wonderfully rich source of information

National Library of Medicine
Household Products Database
This site provides health & safety information on more than 4000 household products. It includes

"This database links over 4,000 consumer brands to health effects from Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) provided by the manufacturers and allows scientists and consumers to research products based on chemical ingredients. The database is designed to help answer the following typical questions:

  • What are the chemical ingredients and their percentage in specific brands?
  • Which products contain specific chemical ingredients?
  • Who manufactures a specific brand? How do I contact this manufacturer?
  • What are the acute and chronic effects of chemical ingredients in a specific brand?
  • What other information is available about chemicals in the toxicology-related databases of the National Library of Medicine?"


"This free-of-charge search interface provides access to the TOXNET system of databases on toxicology, hazardous chemicals, and related areas.
TOXNET is sponsored by the National Library of Medicine, through the Toxicology and Environmental Health Information Program of its Specialized Information Services Division."

Includes access to

Toxicology Data Search
HSDB (Hazardous Substances Data Bank),
CCRIS (Chemical Carcinogenesis Research Information System) from the National Cancer Institute, and
GENE-TOX (Genetic Toxicology/Mutagenicity Data Bank) and IRIS (Integrated Risk Information System) both from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Toxic Releases (TRI) Search
Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) TRI series of files (beginning with TRI87) containing data on the estimated quantities of chemicals released to the environment or transferred off-site for waste treatment, as well as information related to source reduction and recycling.
Toxicology Literature Search bibliographic files, consisting of citations to the scientific literature: DART (Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology) and its backfile ETICBACK, and EMIC (Environmental Mutagenesis Information Center) and its backfile EMICBACK.
Internet Grateful Med 2.6 - TOXLINE and ChemID
Internet Grateful Med - Provides free access to MEDLINE, AIDSDRUGS, AIDSLINE, AIDSTRIALS, BIOETHICSLINE, ChemID, DIRLINE, HealthSTAR, HISTLINE, HSRPROJ, OLDMEDLINE, POPLINE, PREMEDLINE, SDILINE, SPACELINE, and TOXLINE. Document ordering is available with Loansome Doc.

Pesticide Action Network (PAN)
PAN Pesticide Database

Pesticide Database Web site, your one-stop location for current toxicity and regulatory information for pesticides. The PAN Pesticide Database brings together a diverse array of information on pesticides from many different sources...

This work was supported by grants from the David B. Gold Foundation, U.S. EPA, Region IX, the Bauman Foundation, Californians for Pesticide Reform, and other funders and supporters of Pesticide Action Network North America.

Provides free access to MEDLINE, PRE-MEDLINE, and molecular biology databases. Also provides links to participating publisher sites for full-text journals. Document ordering is available with Loansome Doc.

The National Park Service Conserve O Gram series includes a number of pamphlets on health/safety issues, in PDF.
2/1 Hazardous Materials Health and Safety Update
21/1 Health And Safety Hazards Arising From Floods
2/2 Ethylene Oxide Health and Safety Update
2/3 Arsenic Health and Safety Update
2/4 Dichlorvos (Vapona) Update
2/5 Fossil Vertebrates as Radon Source: Health Update
2/6 Preparing Salvage Caches for Emergency Use
2/7 Fabricating Secure Hangers for Framed Works of Art
2/8 Hantavirus Disease Health and Safety Update
2/9 Tamper-Resistant Fasteners for Museum Exhibit Cases
2/10 Hazardous Materials in Your Collections
2/11 Health and Safety Risks of Asbestos
2/12 Safe Techniques for Archival Surveying and Assessment
2/13 Introduction to Respirator Use in Collections Management2/14 DDT Health And Safety Update

Desorption of Residual Ethylene Oxide from Fumigated Library Materials
Frank H. Hengemihle, Norman Weberg and Chandru J. Shahani Preservation Research and Testing Office November 1995, Preservation Research and Testing Series No. 9502.

Arts, Crafts, and Theater Safety (ACTS)

U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

University of Akron, Dept of Chemistry Hazardous Chemical Database

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Server
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) promotes a safe and healthy working environment by providing information and advice about occupational health and safety. CCOHS provides a comprehensive computerized information service, CCINFO, delivered through compact disc (CD-ROM) an online system, CCINFOline, and diskette products. CCINFO assists thousands of users in some fifty countries in meeting their information needs. CCOHS also provides free access to their BBS, the OSH Exchange. The OSH Exchange is a forum for the exchange of health and safety ideas and information.

Centers for Disease Control
Office of Health and Safety

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, a Federal agency established by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. NIOSH is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related illness and injuries.

Interactive Learning Paradigms, Incorporated
Fire Safety and Fire Extinguishers In a Chemistry Laboratory

International Occupational Safety and Health Information Centre (CIS)
Presented in collaboration between the Institute of Occupational Safety Engineering at the Tampere University of Technology. Includes

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Gopher

Hazardous Chemical Database
A service of the research group of Dr. James K. Hardy at the Department of Chemistry, The University of Akron

Princeton Plasma Physics Lab Gopher
Information on fire protection, industrial hygiene, electrical safety, construction safety, environmental protection, etc.

Chemical and Laboratory Safety information from the University of Vermont
Info on hazardous waste procedures, lab accidents, lab safety, and chemical safety
Columbia University's Environmental Health & Safety Policy

Sunlight, Ultraviolet Radiation, and the Skin
City of Tucson, Arizona
Health amp; Safety in the Arts: A Searchable Database of Health & Safety Information for Artists
NIH Consensus Statement Online 1989 May 8-10 7(8):1-29.

University of Victoria Department of Visual Arts Health and Safety Manual

European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)
Member State Committee Support Document for Agreement on Cyclododecane (Adopted on 8 October 2008)

Environmental Defense Fund
Scorecard. See escecially About the Chemicals, and Health Effects Resource Center
Resources for health/safety professionals, including regulatory information, industry news, etc.

Guardian Insurance
The Ulitimate Safety List

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