1.3 Potential Adverse Effects of Pest Control Agents on the Materials of Museum Artifacts

Getty Conservation Institute

Michele Derrick
Dusan Stulik
James Druzik
Neville Agnew
Frank Preusser
Period of Activity: 6/86 to 4/89

Project Description
The GCI joined the Canadian Conservation Institute and the Conservation Analytical Laboratory, Smithsonian Institution, in assessing the potential damages of Vikane to modern and traditional resins and waxes pigments, and metals.

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-Sulfuryl fluoride , SO2F2, sold commercially as the fumigant Vikane® , is currently being examined as a possible pest control agent for use in museums and historical structures. While little to no visible damage to materials is noted when Vikane is properly used, the selection criteria for a fumigant must be based on an in-depth analysis of its possible effect on the physical and chemical properties of exposed artifacts. This article provides the basis for the evaluation of sulfuryl fluoride by providing a comprehensive review on Vikane, including information regarding the uses, chemical reactivity, physical properties, efficacy, and toxicity of sulfuryl fluoride.

Derrick, M. R., "The Interaction of Vikane Fumigant with Materials in Museum Artifacts," WAAC Conference, Yosemite, California, November 5-9, 1988.

ABSTRACT-GCI, in conjunction with CCI and CAL, is testing the effects of sulfuryl fluoride (Vikane® ) on materials found in museum artifacts. As part of this program, the GCI developed two new methods to examine gas/solid interactions. This presentation described both methods and their applications in determining the effects Vikane has on materials such as metals.

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-Insect infestation is a museum problem that must weigh the potential disadvantages of doing nothing, thereby risking the disappearance of the infested collection, or treating the infestation with a chemical agent that might interact with the objects being protected. Virtually all fumigants, however, derive biological efficacy from their chemical reactivity, so that it becomes important then to determine which fumigants or single fumigant represents the least acceptable risk to the types of materials found in museum collections. One measure of a fumigant's potential value to the museum community is the level of consumer-encountered problems over time. For this reason, Vikane, or sulfuryl fluoride, has been shown to be superior as a commercial fumigant when applied properly. This is why the Getty Conservation Institute, in collaboration with the Canadian Conservation Institute and the Conservation Analytical Laboratory of the Smithsonian Institution examined the effects of sulfuryl fluoride on cellulose and lignin, proteins , pigments , dyes, synthetic and natural resins, and metals.