Decontamination of biocide-contaminated collections and objects
Especially from the beginning of the last century until the 1990s, objects in museums and collections were treated with a variety of biocides and insecticides, either preventively or to control active infestations by insects or fungi. Only later were most of these toxins recognized as carcinogenic, germ cell mutagenic, or reproductive toxicants (CMRs).
Today, curators, conservators, custodians, art shippers, as well as archivists and librarians, are exposed to the hazardous health effects of these biocides. Of course, museum visitors may also be exposed. The number of affected objects in Germany alone runs into the millions. Large parts of collections have to be literally locked away because of the dangers they pose. Some storage rooms may now only be entered under full protection and breathing masks. Museum employees have already fallen ill in connection with biocide exposure in the workplace.
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As a subsidiary of the Brussels conservation and restoration company IPARC (International Platform for Art Research and Conservation), ICM specializes in pest control of art and cultural assets, as well as the decontamination of collections contaminated by biocides. ICM has offices in London and Brussels, Berlin will follow in 2021. Further branches in major European cities are planned.