Poisons, Plastics and Paper Potentially Destructive Combinations in Archival Storage

  • Julia Fenn Royal Ontario Museum, Canada


Synthetic polymers, in the form of digital media, negatives, tapes and compact disks, are now an important component of modern archival collections. They consist of many different plastics with significantly different properties. These plastics, as well as "archivally safe" plastics used for framing and storage, are often unexpectedly vulnerable to contamination from trace residues of biocides once commonly used in libraries and museums. Many of them are also susceptible to volatile degradation products from the archival collections themselves. Some of these interactions will be discussed in the context of collections management, with emphasis on avoiding incompatible combinations, identifying when a plastic has become corrosive and the advantages and limitations of scavengers and barrier materials.

ESARBICA Journal Vol.22 2003: 25-36

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eISSN: 0376-4753