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A nonvolative chemical added to a paint or adhesive mixture to prevent fermentation and mold growth. The list of preservatives include: phenyl mercuric naphthol, sodium ortho-phenyl phenate, sodium trichlorophenate, bleach, boric acid, borax ethylparaben, formalin, magnesium silicogluoride, methylparaben, naphthol, oil of cloves, mercuric chloride, phenol, phenylmercuric chloride, propylparaben, sodium benzoate, sodium fluoride, sodium 2,4,5-trichlorophenate, thymol, zinc chloride, zinc naphthenate (McCAnn 1979)

Hazards and Safety

Most preservatives are toxic by ingestion and many are toxic through skin absorption.


  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 635
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979
  • Matt Roberts, Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: a Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1982
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996

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