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Old time dyes-Poison

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  • Old time dyes-Poison

    Just a little heads up here about a little known fact concerning the old time dyes used in coloring operations in the mid 19th century. The green colors frequently have a rather high arsenic content, were used on fabric,leather, etc.-- and can present a health hazard. Book and photo album covers from this era, if showing a green colored dye look should be treated as potentially hazardous. I am not aware that there has ever been a reported case of toxicity arising from careless handling of objects so treated but there are instances from the mid 19th century documenting deaths and illnesses directly related to these dyes, both among those working with them and those who used items treated with the aforementioned dyes. Again, the green dyes seem to be the ones most "loaded" with a copper/arsenic compound. If handling old albums,books or clothing from this era, wearing gloves and washing them promptly after use, would probably be prudent as well as immediately sweeping up and residue which might become dislodged from the item during examination and handling. Not all green dyes from this era contain arsenic but it might be prudent to take just a little extra care if you ever do have the chance to handle any such items. Tom

  • #2
    Good tip Tom! As much as I've read about some of the processes, I didn't know about that. Better safe than sorry as there's no way for the average person to know if there's a potential hazard. Thanks.



    • #3
      Good tip Tom. It's always best to be on the safe side. I didn't know that either. It's funny how now we view all these chemicals as hazardous materials, yet I remember growing up in a house where insulation was asbestos and paint on the walls was lead based and a favorite toy to play with was mercury. Now days any of those chemicals in the minutest form will have Has Met crews in biosuits coming to your house. Thank God for the days of enlightenment. Probably explains my mental state today.


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