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Appendix D: Tips to help determine the presence of toxics: What to look for

Appendix D
Tips to help determine the presence of toxins


 All ethnographic artifacts collected and/or prepared before the mid-1950s should be considered potentially dangerous to those handling them.

 Study the documentation for reference to use of toxins.  Note that treatments were rarely recorded as they were considered part of general collections management practices.


Inspect artifacts carefully for:

 Warning labels or tags on the object or in/on its storage container.

 Powdery or crystalline deposits or bloom stains, tidelines.

 Inspect and/or test pre-1950s artifacts every several years as toxins may
migrate from their interiors.

 If you discover traces of toxins: tag the contaminated objects indicating the contamination, isolate them (wrap them and/or move them)  and thoroughly document their condition.