Journal Article

  • Safe Storage and Handling of Potentially Hazardous Minerals in Natural History Collections
    Freedman, J.
    NatSCA News, Issue 22, pages 51 - 65

    Minerals in museum collections may pose potential hazards to curators and visitors. This paper discusses the background and use of radioactive minerals and asbestiform minerals, providing examples of safe handling and storage techniques. Toxic elements are also discussed using examples of the more common elements and associated minerals to be found in museum collections including arsenic, mercury, lead and antimony. Historical and current uses of these elements are discussed, along with adverse health affects. Developing a clearer understanding of specimens held in collections allows them to be handled safely, and reduces the common fear of potentially hazardous specimens.