International Workshop: Green Conservation of Cultural Heritage

International Workshop “Green Conservation of Cultural Heritage”

October 27 th -28th, 2015


Conservation and restoration of Cultural Heritage assets involves the potential exposure to risk factors for worker’s health and the environment. From the toxicological point of view, restorers/conservators (hereinafter referred to as ‘restorers’) are commonly exposed to complex mixtures of different types of harmful substances that could be responsible for a wide array of toxic effects, from mild effects in the upper airways induced by harmful airborne particulate matter to the carcinogenic effects of certain treatment product, including (but not only) paints and pigments. The broad range of non-standardized (ethics require always case-by-case solutions) restoration techniques employed during the interventions on Cultural Heritage items often involves the use of solvent and other chemical mixtures as well as biocidal products, and leads to a challenging assessment of the actual risks. Frequently, artworks must be restored on-site and in indoor environments, often without any adequate ventilation. Moreover, the disposal of chemical waste may be very expensive and it could lead to serious consequences on the environment if it is not carried out properly, and affect people unrelated to the restoration procedure. It is now imperative to take ecological, economic and social aspects into consideration when looking at conservation practice and supporting conservation science solutions. The workshop will address this challenge, laying the foundation for Sustainable Restoration and developing guidelines for Green Conservation focused to substituted traditional products and methods. The Workshop, focused on the issue “Sustainable Restoration”, is aimed to discuss the following topics

a) eco-friendly products coming by biotechnologies and nanomaterial sectors;

b) scientific alternative methodologies already available capable to replace the hazardous products and methods for workers and environment used in traditional restoration treatments;

c) new researches to more sustainable methods that take into account both the working conditions and the easiness to use;

d) training programs, activities or studies on the awareness of restorers on health risks, arising from the use of chemicals during the restoration procedures.

The integration of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) with sustainability and green conservation practices is essential to achieve significant benefits to restorers’ health and to protect the environment. Green methods applied to Cultural Heritage conservation, and prevention of the production of hazardous wastes, are the key elements for looking at conservation practice and supporting conservation science solutions.


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