Ion chromatography has been applied to the investigation of corrosion and efflorescence products on a range of museum artifacts whose deterioration is due to reaction with organic carbonyl pollutants in the storage environment. The potential of the technique and its optimisation for the determination of chloride, acetate, formate, nitrate and sulphate anions and associated cations are reported. Compounds containing acetates and/or formates from ceramic, geological, mollusca and metal collections have been investigated. The utility of ion chromatography for the examination of specimens which show no visible efflorescence, but from which significant acetate and formate levels can be quantified, is also demonstrated. The complementarity of ion chromatography and other techniques, in particular X-ray diffraction and infra red spectroscopy, for the investigation of efflorescence products is emphasised.