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Re: A question



The most likely reason, though not necessarily the only reason,
for using talcum is to remove a musty odor.  Not that I recommend
it for the reasons that you mention, i.e. you find it years later
and wonder what it is.
The best method of removal is to vacuum it out.  Second choice
would be to brush it out with a soft brush held over a trash can
or done out of doors.

Jane Brown
Charleston, SC
brownjm@musc.edu

--On Wed, Mar 1, 2000 8:57 AM -0500 Walter Cybulski
<CYBULSKW@MAIL.NLM.NIH.GOV> wrote:

> While surveying a collection of books for preservation evaluation
> purposes = I came across a volume that had powder sprinkled throughout.
> Included was = a note on a slip of paper that indicated the powder was
> talcum.  What = might have been the reason for using the talcum?  What is
> the best method = for removing it?  I ask because after brushing the
> powder away very = carefully there seemed to be a residue left behind on
> the page.
>
> - Walter Cybulski
> National Library of Medicine
>
>>>> <info@papertrail.on.ca> 02/29/00 10:55PM >>>
> If you can extract a bit of the powder onto some clean paper (waxed paper
> might be better), put a drop of vinegar on the powder; bubbling
> (generation=
>
> of carbon dioxide) would indicate that it is most likely sodium
> bicarbonate=
>
> (baking soda) or calcium carbonate (chalk). If you can't get enough =
> powder,
> though, it might be difficult to observe the bubbling. Also, make sure =
> that
> your "clean" paper does not itself cause bubbling!
> You can tell these two powders apart because baking soda will dissolve
> completely in a moderate amount of plain water, but chalk does not =
> dissolve
> at all.
>
> Other substances fizz in vinegar too, but these two would be the most =
> likely
> candidates.
> If it does not fizz, it might be, as you suggest, mould or fungus, but it
> could also be talcum.
> -Kevin Martin
>  the Papertrail
>
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      For subscription information, the Archive, and other related
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