NEMO stands behind a call to allow the use of nitrogen for the protection of cultural heritage

NEMO joins ICOM and ICOMOS’ appeal to all museums, memory institutions and heritage professionals in the European Union to join the last chance to overturn the EU regulation banning the use of in-situ generated nitrogen. Act now by submitting a statement in the EU public consultation, available on the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

Cultural professionals need to speak up with one voice and explain why the EU regulation prohibiting the use of in-situ generated nitrogen in anoxic treatment is endangering the protection of cultural heritage. Feel free to make use of ICOM and ICOMOS’ drafted statement, which is available in English, French and Spanish. The public consultation is open until Saturday 18 January 2020. The issue has been addressed by NEMO since it became apparent in May 2019 and urges its members and other cultural heritage professionals to participate as it might be the last chance to speak up in the matter.

ICOM and ICOMOS write that ”in-situ generated nitrogen is commonly used for the preservation of invaluable collections and cultural objects. In comparison to other much more dangerous and toxic methods, the use of nitrogen has many advantages: The method can be used for the treatment of almost all cultural objects and has the most favorable environmental and health profile (nitrogen/N2 makes up 78 percent of the air we breathe!). Nitrogen can be applied to objects made from materials that cannot be committed to other treatments such as freezing or heat treatments and in particular for objects made of organic or combined materials. There is no viable alternative to anoxic treatment which would be compatible with preservation requirements.”

The European Commission is investigating whether or not to grant the Austrian application for derogation on BPR Article 55(3). To reach a final decision, the Commission needs to analyse the Austrian appeal as well as other available information provide by interested parties. The public consultation is open until 18 January 2020 and aims to collect alternative information. NEMO stands behind ICOM and ICOMOs in urging cultural heritage professionals that work with conservation to participate by submitting statements that speak for the use of in-situ generated nitrogen in the EU public consultation, available on the ECHA (European Chemicals Agency) website.

Please use the drafted in the public consultation process as “IV. Attachments - Non-confidential information.” Simply fill in your institution’s letterhead, the date and your name and upload the letter as a pdf.

Please also keep NEMO ( and ICOM ( informed about your efforts in the matter.