From: Monona Rossol <actsnyc**At_Symbol_Here**>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Biology Specimen Disposal
Date: Tue, 3 Jun 2014 08:29:04 -0400
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: 8D14D3E8AA380C4-1550-59020**At_Symbol_Here**
In-Reply-To <000001cf7eae$710e8520$532b8f60$**At_Symbol_Here**>

George:  Good point.  I co-authored an article called:  "No Magic Bullets: Ethical Considerations for Pest Management Strategies," M.Rossol & W.C.Jessup, AIC Meeting paper, 1995 published in Museum Management & Curatorship, UK 15(2), 1996, pp. 145-168.
There is a lot if information on pesticide use on biological specimens in the paper. We culled all the papers from curatorial and preservation journals as far back as we could find them and there were hundreds of chemicals either recommended and tried at various times or found on specimen analysis.  Mercury and arsenic were the most common, but pentachlorophenol, PCBs, and DDT were right up there in numbers as well.  And every pesticide ever made was tried by some conservator or other. 
What got me interested was a museum at which I was consulting tested some biological specimens and found many different preservatives on even single items.  It seems that when they would hire some new conservator, the new hire would add their own special favorite preservative to the mix just to be sure nothing went bad on their watch. And treatment records were not routinely kept then as they are now. 
The issue got hot again in 2000 when the repatriated Native American artifacts were found laced with pesticides.  The problems arouse because the Native Americans wanted to wear the masks, garments, and headdresses in their ceremonies and considered them sacred and magical.   So I presented at the first big conference on this subject:  "More than Magic: Pesticides on NAGPRA Sacred Objects," written for a San Francisco State University conference on the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. ACTS distributed, 2/2001.
And now, a colleague on the other Coast, Peter Palmer has worked on and has lots of expertise in non-destructive testing of these (or any other) objects to determine what is on them.  If anyone needs to know more about testing, contact me off line and I'll connect you with Peter.
Monona Rossol, M.S., M.F.A., Industrial Hygienist
President:  Arts, Crafts & Theater Safety, Inc.
Safety Officer: Local USA829, IATSE
181 Thompson St., #23
New York, NY 10012     212-777-0062

-----Original Message-----
From: George C. Walton <g.c.walton**At_Symbol_Here**REACTIVES.COM>
Sent: Tue, Jun 3, 2014 7:46 am
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Biology Specimen Disposal

I think they are all going to be regulated in some way - if not formaldehyde or formalin solution, then mercury salts for dry mounts or taxidermy specimens.
George C. Walton, CHMM
Reactives Management Corporation
1025 Executive Blvd., Suite 101
Chesapeake, VA  23320
(757) 436-1033
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of Laura Damon
Sent: Monday, June 2, 2014 5:01 PM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Biology Specimen Disposal
Hi All,
We are cleaning out and remodeling our biology lab and have LOTS of preserved specimens, some from as far back as the  1940's.  The biology folks want to discard these.  My question-is there any way to dispose of them other than through a hazardous waste facility?  I assume most are stored in formaldehyde solution.
Thanks in advance for your wisdom and replies.
Laura L Damon
Coordinator of Instructional Safety and Chemical Hygiene
Flathead Valley Community College
Kalispell, MT

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