If you notice a strong acrid vinegar smell coming off of your photographic collection, you may have vinegar syndrome. Vinegar syndrome occurs when the acetate base on photographic materials, specifically film base, begins to deteriorate because of age or improper storage. The fumes from materials of this nature are toxic. If you notice this smell, do not breathe it in.
Most likely your materials will need to be disposed of immediately. Please assess your collection for disposal and get intact and unaffected materials to a scanning company for preservation as soon as possible. We can provide recommendations. Once your materials are scanned into digital format, we would be happy to assess your digital photo organization project.
Learn more about Vinegar Syndrome.