ARTICLES OF INTEREST
OZONE: Reversibility - Does It Exist? Appraisal - An Analysis of the Effects
After a minor fire in the residence, the textiles, together with a large quantity of smoke contaminated clothing and leather goods, were treated with ozone to eradicate smoke and mold odor. All of the clothing and other textiles were over exposed to perc, xylenes, terpenes and ozone and exhibited the same characteristics, primarily fading, shrinking and brittleness. The bottom line on this claim is that the insurance company had to replace all the textiles in this home, which increased the insurance claim by 600%.
Ozone treatment is offered by many firms who specialize in fire, water and smoke damage restoration. While ozone exposure is useful to "knock out" some smoke odor, if not used VERY carefully, it can cause rapid deterioration and oxidation of fabrics. This damage is real and irreversible! Anything with an organic structure (like textiles, carpets, furniture, books, and paper) can be severely and irreversibly damaged by ozone causing loss of aesthetic value.
The problem is that the concentration of ozone (measured in parts per million) combined with the elapsed exposure time, must be carefully monitored to achieve effective treatment without inflicting more damage from the ozone. Ozone is toxic in small amounts. Treatment with ozone should be used as a last ditch effort, when all else has failed and administered only by qualified personnel capable of monitoring the procedure very closely. Information documenting the effects of ozone has proven to be very useful in identifying and resolving some claim issues. Patrick B. King & Associates Ltd. is experienced in recognizing the effects of over-exposure to ozone, and as a result, they have experimented with other remedies which are successful and non-toxic.
After Ozone Treatment Before Ozone TreatmentNotice the drastic color changes!!
Appraisal of Restoration and Dry Cleaning Companies, Smoke Odor and Ozone
Reversibility - Does It Exist ? Before surrendering your fire damaged home or belongings it is important to grasp the scope of the work that the restoration or dry cleaning company you choose is carrying out and be prepared to ask many questions. The scope of a fire restoration project can initially involve protecting and boarding up exposed windows, doors or roofs, removal and packing of collections, building reconstruction, general cleaning, odor removal and restoration of electronics, books, files, documents and artwork.
Many of the available restoration or dry cleaners offer fire restoration services and can provide an adequate quality of work for many of the basic services. For the more specialist areas of building reconstruction, odor removal and restoration of electronics, books, files, documents and artwork it would be reasonably fair to say that the average restoration company does not do so well.
The reasons that they donít fare so well can simply be due to lack of training and the nature of their company. Very often most of the labor carried out by the restoration company is carried out by day labor sourced locally. Many of these individuals may not have any prior disaster recovery experience and as a consequence materials might not be packed or treated the best way possible. To ensure that your collection is treated appropriately you should enquire about the training program which the restoration company uses and about the cleaning materials which they use. It is entirely possible that the cleaning methods that the restoration company uses may be inappropriate for your materials and may cause more harm than good. There is a very large gap in knowledge and skill level between a casual restoration laborer and a properly trained conservator and consequently there can be an equally large gap between the end result.
It is a very good idea to request a copy of the restoration or dry cleaners insurance with a clause, naming you as the beneficiary prior to commencement of the work.
Another useful hint is to check if the restoration company is a member of a professional organization or have certification, although this does not guarantee their competency it at least shows that they have had some exposure to invest at least some thought into attaining accreditation. It is your own responsibility to dictate how much of the work is appropriate for the restoration company to carry out. This is especially true if you have valuable collections you should be prepared to insist that such work be carried out by an appropriate conservator when dealing with smoke odor.
Restoration companies and some dry cleaners tend to use three methods to treat smoke odor. Namely smell masking chemicals, thermal deodorization or Ozone treatments. Each of these treatments has its own risk and shortfall.
Masking Agents tend to be the first line of action for many restoration companies and some dry cleaners. A masking agent as the name implies hides the odor however the chemicals within can be health and environmentally unfriendly. It is also common for masking agents to be oil based and leave a residue on the materials being treated. Masking agents have been known to trigger allergic reactions in sensitive individuals, such as runny noses and itchy watery eyes. A masking agent will also dissipate with time and it is possible that the original bad odor will return.
Thermal deodorization involves heating of the material to drive of the odor this can damage the material by additionally stressing the material.
Ozone treatment involves the use of a machine to turn atmospheric oxygen into Ozone (O3). Ozone is very powerful oxidizing agent which can knock out some of the odor however it simultaneously degrades the material being treated by causing fading, loss of tensile strength and consequently accelerated aging and may cause loss in value .
Because of the many pitfalls and associated trade off none of these methods are acceptable to reputable libraries, museums or archival collections.
There is no fast and easy way to approach the problem other than repeated cleaning of the effected areas and sealing or replacement of structure damage. In some circumstances it is possible to flush fresh air through the structure. If this is not possible a second best is to use HEPA filters to capture smoke particles; be prepared to have the HEPA filters changed regularly.
For small scale odor problems odor can sometimes be removed by sealing the items in a plastic bag with baking soda or activated charcoal (cat litter sometimes includes these materials and is used for its odor dissolving purposes).
M. Kite and R. Thomson Conservation of Leather and Related Materials,( 2006 ), ozone p 40.
Y. Ye, L. Salmon , G. Cass, The Ozone Fading of Traditional Chinese Plant Dyes ( 2000 ) p 250 - 257 JAIC .
J. A. Smith, Risk Assessment for Object Conservation , ( 1999 ) , ozone p182.
R. L. Feller Accelerated Aging Photochemical and Thermal Aspects ( 1994 ), ozone p 108 - 110 - 111.
K.E. Stephens, and C.L. Beatty, Effects of Ozone on the Physical Properties of Butadiene and Styrene / Butadiene Copolymers," Materials Science and Engineering,47 ( 1982 ), 277 - 281.
B.Appelbaum, "Guide to Environmental Protection of Collections" , Sound View Press, Madison CT. 1991. ISBN 0-032087-16-7
P. M. Whitmore, "The Ozone Fading of Traditional Japanese Colorants", Studies on Conservation 33, (1988), p 29 - 40.
C. R. Cass, J. R. Druzik, D. Grosjean, W. W. Naazaroff, P. M. Whitmore, C. L. Wittman, "Protection of Works of Art from Photochemical Smog" The Getty Conservation Institute Scientific Report (June 1988).
C. L. Shaver, G.R.Cass, and J. R. Druzik, "Ozone and the Deterioration of Works of Art,"Environmental Science and Technology 17 (1983),748-752
T. D. Davies, B. Ramer, G. Kaspyzok, and A. C. Dellany, "Indoor Ozone/Outdoor Ozone Concentrations at a Contemporary Art Gallery," J. Air Pollution Control Assoc.,31(1984) 135-137.
J. C. Haylock, and J. L. Rush, "Studies on the Ozone Fading of Anthraquinone Dyes on Nylon Fibers, "Textile Research Journal, (January, 1976) 1 - 8.
H. Schweppe, "Identification of Dyes on Old Textiles," J. American Institute for Conservation, 19 (1980), 14 - 23.
H. M. Heuvel, R. Huisman, and H. M. Schmidt "Ozone fading of Blue 3 on Nylon 6 Fibers, The Influence of Physical Fiber Properties, " " Textile Research Journal, (July 1978), 376 - 377.
Y. K. Kamath, S. B. Ruetsch, and H. D. Weigmann "Microspectrophotometric Study of Ozone Fading of Disperse Dyes in Nylon," "Textile Research Journal," (July 1983),
N. Liebergott, B. van Lierop, and A. Skothos "Ozone Bleaching Part 1"
"Tappi Journal ,Vol.75, No1, " ( January 1992 )
N. Liebergott, B. Van Lierop, and A. Skothos "Ozone Bleaching Part 2"
"Tappi Journal ,Vol.75, No1, " ( February 1992 )
W.W. Lebensaft, and V.S. Salvin, "Ozone Fading of Anthraquinone Dyes on Nylon and Acetate." Tex. Chem. Color 4:7, 1972.
Author: Patrick B. King
Patrick B. King & Associates
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