Note on handling potentially arsenic-contaminated media

Older volumes from library collections may contain arsenic-containing color pigments. Indications of this in books from the 16th to 18th centuries are gray-green or yellow-orange colored, non-luminous cuts, which can also look muddy or dirty. One feature for identification is the color of the undercut, as the color on the other cuts may have faded. For titles published between 1800 and 1935, green arsenic-based color pigments can be found here: on bindings, book cuts, mirrors, endpapers, title and signature plates, marbled papers, journal delivery covers and in print or hand-colored illustrations. In these cases, the use of gloves and FFP2 masks is recommended. Basic hygiene rules should also be observed (e.g. washing hands after use, cleaning surfaces). As a general rule, care should also be taken when handling the relevant stock to ensure that no contamination occurs via the mucous membranes (e.g. touching your face with your hands).

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