Documents, books and similar items soaked and muddied in the potentially sewage-laden flood waters produced by Hurricane Harvey may be salvageable with the use of electronic beam technology.
“This technology has been used around the world to save documents and paintings that otherwise would be lost,” said Dr. Suresh Pillai, director of the National Center for Electron Beam Research, part of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, College Station.
Pillai said the technology is useful for killing mold, fungus and bacteria that invade moist environments. Irradiation has been used worldwide to save documents such as ancient Orthodox Christian icons in Romania, cultural artifacts in Brazil and religious sculptures in France.
The same technology could be used on items damaged by Hurricane Harvey flood waters, such as passports, birth, marriage or death certificates, and books, Pillai said.