Removing dust and mold spores during book restoration and conservation

paper_conservation_0001The art and precision of book restoration and conservation is a honed skill; one that involves countless hours of detailed yet delicate labor.

The passion that goes in to restoring rare and antiquated works of literature is evidenced by the finished product.

By removing layers of dirt and remediating mold spores from the pages, original script comes to life – but if you’re not careful those dusts and spores can expose you to a host of respiratory concerns.

Avoid inhaling dust, mold spores

Common surface contaminants of old books are dust, dirt, stains and mold spores.

A variety of factors contribute to the presence of these contaminants:

  • Environmental conditions
  • Indoor air quality
  • Atmospheric pollutants
  • Pests
  • Improper handling/storage
  • Human oils, fingerprints

092111_1454_taleoftwobo5Depending on the condition of the book and what type of contaminants are found, different restoration techniques may be used.

Some techniques include:

  • Soft and Hard Brushes
  • Vacuums
  • Chemical Sponges
  • Pressurized Air
  • Dryers
  • Isopropyl Alcohol / Organic Solvents
  • Leather protectants

These methods generate fine particulate matter and chemical fume that has the potential to become airborne. Once airborne, these particles are easily inhaled and can deposit on the lungs and within the airways.

Health effects of dust, mold inhalation

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) notes that not all dusts produce the same degree of health hazard; their harmfulness depends on the composition, concentration, size, shape and exposure time.

“Excessive or long-term exposure to harmful respirable dusts may result in a respiratory disease called pneumoconiosis. This disease is caused by the buildup of mineral or metallic dust particles in the lungs and the tissue reaction to their presence. Pneumoconiosis is a general name for a number of dust-related lung diseases.”

A professional mold remediation expert should be consulted before handling books with mold spores. If given the all-clear to remove it, proper respiratory protection should still be used.

According to the CDC, the inhalation of mold spores has a varying effect on individuals and can be especially harmful to those who are sensitive to it or have asthma. Exposure has also been linked to upper respiratory issues in otherwise healthy people.

Ventilation equipment for your restoration work

Sentry Air Systems has fume extraction and air purification equipment to help reduce the amount of particulate, mold spores, and fume generated during the restoration process.

  • Source-capture units work to arrest fume and particles at the point of generation, where exposure is most likely to occur. This type of unit better protects the operator from respiratory inhalation exposure.
  • Ambient air cleaners work to capture renegade particles and fume found in general room air. This type of filtration is great for freshening up otherwise stale or musty air; an issue commonly found in book storage areas where paper, leather and other fibrous material can off-gas odors.

For source-capture filtration, we recommend our Ductless Fume Hoods (DCH) and Portable Downdraft Bench (DDB).

Sentry Air 40" W DCH

Sentry Air 40″ W DCH

Our DCHs are self-contained workstations that utilize a powerful fan to pull harmful air through the hood’s filtration system before recirculating cleansed air back into the room. The hood’s HEPA filter media effectively captures up to 99.97% of particles down to 0.3 microns in size. This type of filter is great for restoration techniques that produce dust, mold spores and other fine particulate. If your application generates fume or other VOC vapor, we suggest pairing the HEPA filter with an Activated Carbon filter to help in the adsorption of these fumes.

In an earlier blog post, we share how one art conservator uses a SAS enclosure to exhaust hazardous chemical fume: Testimonial: Margaret Burnham, Art Conservator, Birmingham Museum of ArtMargaret Burnham, art conservator, Birmingham Museum of Art.

35"W Portable DDB - Stand

35″W Portable DDB – Stand

Our Portable Downdraft Bench is great for work environments that are on the move. This unit comes in either a standing or sitting configuration and the heavy-duty casters make moving the unit easy. The negative pressure, perforated work surface pulls harmful particles and fume down through the table and into the filter chamber. This unit’s compact design and ease of use makes for quick assimilation into labs, libraries, and museums.

For Ambient Room Air Cleaners, we recommend our Portable Room Air Cleaners and Model 700 Free Hanging Air Cleaner.

Model 400 Portable Room Air Cleaner

A Portable Room Air Cleaner (PRAC) is low profile and can be placed throughout a room for secondary air cleaning. With a variety of sizes and air volume, Sentry Air has a PRAC suitable for most room sizes and environments.




Model 700 Free Hanging Air Cleaner

If floor space is minimal, suspend a Model 700 Free Hanging Air Cleaner from the ceiling. The Model 700 has two main filter chambers along with a pre- and post-filter that work to rid the air of particles and odor to provide a fresher work environment.

All of the units recommended utilize ductless technology, and because the air is recirculated, no exterior-ducting or loss of heat and air conditioning is necessary.

Disclaimer: Sentry Air fume extractors are not suitable for restoration techniques that utilize rubber or eraser dust as these particles may be combustible. 

Contact Us

If you would like more information or a quote, please contact Sentry Air at 800.799.4609, email, visit our website or fill out the comment form below.

Economical, adaptive enclosures for simulated pharmacy training

pharmacy pill dustThe pharmaceutical industry in America is complex in that multiple agencies, both private and governmental, develop standards and regulations on everything from beta testing new drugs to compounding and selling approved medications.

These standards are not only meant to protect the health and safety of end users, but also those who manipulate, manufacture, and package these drugs.

It is common for new requirements or recommendations to be proposed or adopted each year. While some are small changes to existing standards, others may radically alter current ways of operating.

For example, see our earlier blog on proposed guideline USP 800.

For this reason, ongoing, hands-on training is important for both pharmacy students and seasoned professionals in order to remain up to date on all of the regulations.

Training through simulation

Sentry Air Pharmacy HoodBy simulating how to mix solutions, weigh and transfer powders, and fill capsules using non-toxic ingredients, students and professionals are able to gain knowledge and confidence without the anxiety of training with real drugs.

If your pharmacy program or lab is considering opening a simulation room, some ideas to consider are: cost, flexibility and modularity.

  • Cost. Spend money where it counts, invest in equipment that offers longevity with minimal maintenance.
  • Flexibility. Regulations are always evolving so the room should have accommodations in place for change or expansion.
  • Modularity. In order to reduce cost, invest in equipment that offers multiple solutions and can be reworked to accommodate future changes.

Real world equipment for the simulated environment

While Sentry Air Systems provides real world solutions to pharmacies and labs, our line of fume extractors and dust containment systems can easily assimilate into any training lab.

Sentry Air Lab HoodsThe design of our equipment features compact sizes, easy installation, low maintenance, low vibration, portability and modularity. Listed below are some of our most popular options:

Sentry Air 60 inch Powder Containment HoodDuctless Powder Containment Hood

  • Training Uses: Capsule Filling, Powder Weighing, Powder Transfer, Compounding*
  • Function: Uses negative pressure to pull contaminated air within the hood through a filter chamber where it is scrubbed of hazardous particles; protecting the operator from inhaling these particles.
  • Features: HEPA filtration; Fluorescent light; Variable speed controller; Clear front sash curtains; Standard sizes that can accommodate a variety of capsule filling machines (read an earlier blog post); Customizations are available.

Sentry Air Model 200 Winged Sentry with LidBenchtop Winged Sentry w/ lid

  • Training Uses: Pill Sorting, Powder Weighing, Powder Transfer, Compounding*
  • Function: Uses horizontal negative pressure to pull air away from operator and into the filter chamber.
  • Features: HEPA filtration; Adjustable side ‘wings’; Clear lid

*Disclaimer: If used for sterile compounding training and simulation, NO real chemicals may be used within the hood.

Money Saving Options

Our units are uniquely designed to be flexible and modular; creating money saving options to customers.

  1. If using non-toxic materials during simulation, these units do not need to include filter media. – Which saves $$$
  2. If your simulation does not require a blower to be installed on the hood, then our Exhaust Hoods may be better fitting for your application. – Which saves $$$
  3. Our ductless hoods with filter chamber are capable of adapting to the proposed USP 800 guideline with the simple addition of an outlet plenum accessory. – Which saves $$$

Contact Sentry Air

If you are considering opening a pharmacy simulation lab we’d love to hear from you. For more information and a free quote contact 800.799.4609, email, visit our website, or fill out the form below.