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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)


  • Most preservatives are toxic by ingestion
  • Many are toxic through skin absorption

Resources and Citations

  • 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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