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Re: The PVA collection

   Some recent chemical investigation of PVA has shown that PVA is not
eternal. While it is inert initially, when it begins to deteriorate it
starts releasing acetic acid.  The question is, how long will it be
before any given batch of PVA starts to do that, and that is contingent
on a host of environmental conditions.  If a book is printed on wood
pulp paper of poor quality, I wouldn't put the PVA used in the binding
as my first worry.
   When I became aware of the findings of this research, I was concerned
about the PVA used to make boxes for our rare books.  A lot of these
books with oak boards, various leathers and other non-alkaline materials
anyway, some several centuries old.  I ordered some A-D strips and put
them in a random selection of about a dozen boxes.  That was back in
July of 1998, so far the strips have all lost a little blue, but I have
not yet found one turning into the green range.  This was hardly a
scientific test, but it was reassuring.
   Sooner or later someone will invent a better product for us, but for
the moment choices are limited.
  Dorothy Africa

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