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Is "Acid-Free" Enough?

"Isn't acid free enough?" The answer is no, acid free isn't enough and I'll explain why.

Think about all of the chemicals that you have in your home. You know, the ones that are under your kitchen sink with a baby safe lock on them. Most of them contain toxic chemicals. Would you want any of them near your photos? Acid is NOT the only material that damages photos.

Unless we are taking precautions to ensure that we are using safe materials, we might as well place our beautiful scrapbook pages in a magnetic album. Few of us would do that, but many of us do not know very much about photo preservation, what is safe, what is unsafe and WHY certain materials should be used or avoided.

Papers should be acid free, lignin free, bleach free, chemically stable. Permanent inks should be used for writing and stamping.

The Issue of Acid and Lignin:
Anything that touches your photos should be acid-free and lignin-free, including paper, glue, markers and stickers. Why? Otherwise your photos will discolor and disintegrate more quickly than they would naturally. Products that are photo-safe will be labeled as such. You can also look for the CK-OK label, which means the product has been tested by Creating Keepsakes magazine’s experts for photo-safety.

What Is Acid-Free—and Why Does It Matter?:
Acid causes paper and photos to disintegrate. This aging process is slowed significantly when acid is removed from paper during the manufacturing process. Not all scrapbooking materials are photo-safe, so be sure your paper, glue and markers are labeled acid-free or archival-quality before you purchase them. Paper Pizazz® papers are tested and guaranteed to be acid-free and lignin-free.

What’s Lignin?:
Lignin is the natural bonding element which holds wood fibers together. Newsprint contains lignin—you’ll notice how brittle and yellowed a newspaper becomes after just a few days. Like acid, lignin can be removed during processing to make scrapbooking paper safe.

If you want to include newspaper articles or announcements in your memory album, photocopy them onto acid-free, lignin-free paper. Copy onto an off-white paper that resembles newsprint for an authentic look.

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