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Mineral Hazards

May 7, 2013

Guest post by Curator of Geology Chris Tacker on NC Connecting to Collections.


ChrisRockThanks to Chris Tacker, Curator of Geology at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, for this guest post. 

Museums and cultural institutions frequently get phone calls from prospective donors who want to give away Daddy’s or Granddaddy’s rock collection. Rock and mineral collections can support interesting and educational programs. However, these collections may hold a few surprises that open the institution to a number of unexpected regulatory and/or safety concerns. Radioactivity, radon, asbestos, toxins and carcinogens can all arrive as a part of amateurs’ collections.

To put this in perspective, any rock or mineral is a hazard if it’s moving fast enough. Any rock and mineral above a certain weight is a hazard to your head or feet. With reasonable care, hard hats, and steel toed shoes, these hazards can be minimized.

North Carolina has a remarkable mineral diversity, so there are some North Carolina specialties that turn…

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