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Organic and inorganic pollutants in storage rooms of the Lower Saxony State Museum Hanover, Germany

: Schieweck, A.; Lohrengel, B.; Siwinski, N.; Genning, C.; Salthammer, T.


Atmospheric environment 39 (2005), No.33, pp.6098-6108
ISSN: 0004-6981
ISSN: 1352-2310
Journal Article
Fraunhofer WKI ()
museum; storage room; air pollutant; nuclear radiation; dust analysis; biocides

Indoor pollution in cultural institutions such as museums, libraries and archives is of particular importance. On the one hand, it is essential to provide a healthy indoor climate for museum staff and visitors; on the other hand, cultural assets have to be protected against deterioration. Building materials, preservatives and other products are possible sources of a number of hazardous compounds. In many cases, conservators handle cultural artifacts where the type of preservation is unknown. Therefore, systematic measurements of indoor pollutants in storage rooms of the Lower Saxony State Museum Hanover have been accomplished. Concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), formaldehyde and organic acids in the ambient air were determined by active sampling and chemical analysis. Semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) and selected elements were examined by sampling and analyzing settled dust. The climatic conditions (temperature and relative humidity) were recorded as well. Most of the VOCs detected in the ambient air are associated with packaging and building products used for furnishing magazines and building exhibition cases. Furthermore, they are associated with products used for preservation and restoration. Wooden shelves and drawers were identified as sources of terpenes and other VOCs. Compounds such as lindane and 1,4-dichlorobenzene are still used as preservatives against insects and fungi. In settled dust, increased concentrations of lead, arsenic and chlorine were found. This result also indicates the application of certain preservatives. The spectrum of detected air pollutants reflects the different application of chemicals and building products in the individual departments. The results have been evaluated with regard to possible adverse effects both on human health and on works of art.