Protecting valuable CDs, DVDs

(National) June 21, 2004 - Data, music, pictures and any other information stored on CDs and DVDs was supposed to last a lifetime. Experts predicted between 70 and 200 years, but that's apparently not the case.

Dan Koster, a web site manager, started to notice disc damage years ago, "I had a disc that previously was playing very well, and it was now unplayable, yet the surface had no scratches. It looked to be in good condition, so I took it and held it up to the light."

Dan says he saw pinholes where light was shining through the disc. The information on the disc oxidized.

Some discs are not properly sealed around the edges, which allows oxygen to seep in between the plastic layers. That can cause edge rot.

Bronzing happens when the sulfur from the CD booklet mixes with the lacquer on the cd itself.

Sometimes CDs deteriorate because they are poor quality, but most of the time it's because people don't handle them right.

To protect your CDs and prolong their life don't stack them one on top of one another. Only handle them by the edges. Store them vertically in their cases in a cool, dry place.

Dr. Bruce Einstein of Drexel University says, "If you want your discs to last for a long time, keep them out of the sun. Keep them out of bright lights, don't expose them to the elements."

And, use a soft pen with water-based ink to write on a CD, because scratches on the top side of a CD can be more damaging than the underside.

posted 9:51am by Chris Rees