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Toxins in cutting rough - Ivory


#1

Hi folks,

This discussion has reminded me of a question to which I’ve never
received an unbiased answer. The 1972 CITES treaty banned
international trade in Elephant Ivory. Nevertheless, in most
countries there exists a stockpile of raw or partially-worked Ivory
from various sources. While the use of this material is
controversial, there is a case to be made that it has valid
applications in the restoration of antique jewelry, marquetry, musical
instruments, etc. Here in the United States it is legal to rework
vintage African Ivory - so long as the finished product is not
transported outside the country.

My question is simple: Might there be a viral or bacterial risk
associated with cutting Ivory that is several decades old? (Is there
a Veterinarian in the house?)

-Peter-


#2

there should not be any “biologically” active parts to decades old
ivory, at least nothing from the bone itself. there may be mold, or
other spores, from storage in a dusty back room, but basically not
too much to worry about.


#3
    My question is simple:  Might there be a viral or bacterial
risk associated with cutting Ivory that is several decades old?  (Is
there a Veterinarian in the house?) 

Probably not any bacteria or viral stuff, but the father of a good
friend died of lung cancer. He was a maker of hand turned thimbles
made from exotic woods, bone and ivory. His doctors told his daughter
that the bone and ivory he had been cutting and turning for decades
was probably a significant cause. I think they said the dust was
carcinogenic but, of that, I am not sure. That’s also third hand
and he probably cut far more over the years than you
would for a few pieces of jewelry, but be careful if you are going to
cut much of it. Maybe cut under water and wear mask for sure.

As far as I know, my friend’s father didn’t take any precautions or
wear protective masks because he was unaware of any dangerous side
effects. He was only about 55 or 60.

Nancy
Nancy Bernardine-Widmer
Bernardine Fine Art Jewelry
http://www.bernardine.com
nancy@bernardine.com


#4

All, The issue that viruses and bacteria can remain dormant for long
periods of time is intrigueing. Here in California we are always at
risk of Valley Fever… a particularly nasty virus which is air
borne and also found frequently in dry soils. The Sharks Tooth Hill
area near Bakersfield has long been associated with the risk of that
disease. Furthermore, it has been said that old Indian Graves in the
San Joaquin Valley ( same area) have been observed to retain viable
Valley Fever virus. I don’t see any reason at all why old organic
remains might not retain nasty micro-organisms…but then , of
course, if any of us were to be unfortunate enough to be able to see
with microscopic vision it would scare the hell out of us ! Ron at
Mills Gem, Los Osos, CA.


#5

Fine dust from machining operations on wood, especially some
hardwoods, is a recognised carcinogen. As such rather stringent
workplace hygiene standards apply in many countries regarding
collection at source and so on. Prudent to aim to do the same even in
a hobby setting.