1.2 Potential Adverse Effects of Pest Control Agents on the Materials of Museum Artifacts-CAL

Conservation Analytical Laboratory

David von Endt
Mary Baker
Alan Postlethwaite
Period of Activity: 6/86 to 4/89

Project Abstract
This study investigates the potential interaction between Vikane® (sulfuryl fluoride ) and proteins and dyes. For proteinaceous materials silk, leather, and gelatin-the methods of investigation were amino acid analysis., colorimetric measurements, tensile strength , pH, and elemental analysis before and after accelerated aging. For dyes UV/vis spectrophotometry and TLC were employed.

Major Finding
From the Final Report: As part of a three-part investigation into the effects of the fumigant effects of the fumigant; Vikane® (sulfuryl fluoride) on museum objects, this study into the effects of the fumigant on proteinaceous materials and dyes was undertaken. Potential for damage was measured by changes in appearance, physical properties, and chemical properties of the samples chosen. Two fumigations were performed on most of the protein samples by the GCI; the earlier one with "regular Vikane®" and the latter with "XRM-5162," which has undergone a process to remove the residual by-products of the synthesis of the fumigant. The dye samples were exposed only to XRM-5162.

Results showed the most changes in the protein samples that were fumigated with regular Vikane®; no significant changes were seen as a result of fumigation with XRM-5162. The dyes showed slight chemical changes after fumigation with XRM-5162. The results, which are given in detail in the Final Report, indicate that there are some possibilities for damage to the materials which should be considered before fumigation is performed. Additionally, it is clear that documentation of fumigation should be recorded for each object so that future treatments will take the fumigation history into account.

In general, none of the changes appears to be a major threat to the life of the material fumigated; however, there may be effects which could not be measured by the techniques used or interactions between the actual objects and the fumigation which did not show up in the samples chosen. It is important, therefore, that these results be used as a guideline in the decision-making process and that the results be updated with actual experience as fumigated objects undergo actual aging.

Primary Publications
Derrick, M. R., H. D. Burgess, M. T. Baker, and N. E. Binnie, "Sulfuryl Fluoride (Vikane®): A Review of Its Use as a Fumigant," Journal of the American Institute for Conservation, Vol. 29, 1990, pp. 77-90.

ABSTRACT-See same listing under project 1.3.

Baker, M. T., "Potential of Adverse Effects of Pest Control Agents on the Materials of Artifacts," Final Report to the (Conservation at the Getty) Institute, March, 1989.

ABSTRACT-Same above under Major Findings.

Druzik, J. R., H. D. Burgess, M. T. Baker, and M. R. Derrick, "Laboratory Investigation of the Fumigant Vikane®," American Chemical Society, Division of Environmental Chemistry, Miami, Florida, September 10-15, 1989.

ABSTRACT-(see same listing under project 1.3)

Baker, M. T., H. D. Burgess, N. E. Binnie, M. R. Derrick, and J. R. Druzik, "Investigation of the Fumigant Vikane®," Preprints, ICOM 9th Triennial Meeting, Vol. 2, Dresden, August 26-31, 1990, pp. 804-811.

ABSTRACT-The fumigant Vikane® (sulfuryl fluoride); was tested on a selection of materials, metals,pigments,resins, cellulose, proteins, and dyes. Varying amounts of chemical and physical changes were noted in the materials, some of which could be attributed to the acidic impurities in the fumigant. Fumigations with the impurities impurities ;removed from the Vikane® caused fewer changes. These results indicate that careful consideration of the fumigation conditions, pest type, and materials to be fumigated must be taken into account.