SULFURYL FLUORIDE (VIKANE): A REVIEW OF ITS USE AS A FUMIGANT
MICHELE R. DERRICK, HELEN D. BURGESS, MARY T. BAKER, & NANCY E. BINNIE
VIKANE (SULFURYL FLUORIDE) has, thus far, been an effective structural fumigant. In comparison to methyl bromide fumigant, Vikane penetrates materials better, is more toxic to pests, and leaves fewer residual compounds in materials after aeration. Little visible damage on materials of objects has been reported in fumigations with Vikane when all the Dow-recommended procedures for release of the chemical are followed. These characteristics make Vikane look promising for use as a museum fumigant.
Little has been done, however, to assess thoroughly the short-term and long-term effects of using Vikane on materials that may be found in museums. Based on the information given in this paper, some materials that may be susceptible to Vikane (in gaseous or liquid form) and/or to trace levels of impurities present in the commercial fumigant are alkaline and proteinaceous materials, acid-sensitive materials, and metals. Since possible reactions may not produce visible changes, the chemical and physical properties of materials need to be examined and related to the lifetime of the object, potential repeat fumigations, and damages due to infestation.
Many of these questions should be answered by studies being conducted by a joint research team (GCI, CCI, and CAL). The results, along with the efficacy information obtained from the University of Florida project, should provide sufficient information for conservators to make an informed decision on the use of Vikane as a fumigant for pest control in museums and historic structures. Results from this study will be published individually by each participating institution.
THE AUTHORS would like to thank Frank Preusser (GCI), Ken Macleod (CCI), and Lambertus van Zelst (CAL) for initiating this project. The authors appreciate the information on fumigation usage and regulations provided by Thomas Parker (Pest Control Services, Inc.) and Jim Bean (Dow Chemical Co.). We are also grateful to Nieves Valentin (Instituto de Conservacion y Restauracion de Bienes Culturales, Madrid) for her help and suggestions.
This work and the in-depth study of the effects of Vikane on materials in museum artifacts were sponsored by contracts from the Getty Conservation Institute to the Canadian Conservation Institute, the Smithsonian Institution's Conservation Analytical Laboratory, and the University of Florida at Ft. Lauderdale.