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Fortress, Portugal Nitrogen
Fortress, Portugal Image: Svetlanatravel (Pixabay)/ ChloeSmith08 (wikimedia)

ICOMOS calls for European-wide removal of ban on nitrogen for heritage preservation

In a joint statement, ICOM/ ICOMOS call for the immediate repeal of the classification of nitrogen as a biocidal active substance (poisonous substance, such as a pesticide) for cultural heritage preservation applications across the EU.

Nitrogen is globally used for the preservation of monuments and museum objects, in the context of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM), instead of other potentially hazardous chemical substances. There is no equivalent alternative in terms of preservation care and human health, for both staff and visitors of cultural heritage institutions.

In summary, the nitrogen ban is not justified for health aspects. It is bad for the cultural heritage conservation community to have less choices for treatment interventions, with the anoxic treatment being among the most compatible with many materials and objects. Finally, the ban is also economically damaging the market of European stakeholders in the IPM business, favouring less sustainable and riskier treatments.

Therefore, ICOM and ICOMOS jointly call upon the National Ministries, the European Parliament and Council, to repeal as soon as possible the classification of nitrogen as a biocidal active substance across the European Union. We advocate for a solution in which the use of nitrogen for this specific purpose in cultural heritage preservation is ratified for the entire European Union.

From the joint statement

Read more (and view/ download the full statement in English, French and Spanish) at ICOMOS.