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Safety Review

SummerSummer -
edited April 2018 in Studio & Supplies

Cautions to Artists

I was going over this information today and thought you might like to know some of these things as well.  The words are almost totally written by active and inactive members.  Only a few are mine.  These are essentially notes to myself that I got from other members which I hope will be helpful to some of you.  Summer  :)

There are two major types of chemicals that can poison us while painting: organic hydrocarbons (used in solvents and mediums for example) and heavy metals (e.g., paint pigments -cobalt, lead, mercury, barium,etc.). They enter our body through inhalation, ingestion or absorption through the skin. As a result the major health risks we face include: toxic fumes, flammable fire hazards, eye irritants, toxic skin and toxic pigments. Examples of paints/pigments considered carcinogenic are burnt umber and cadmium yellow. An example of a moderately toxic pigment is alizarin crimson. Each of us react differently to different exposures of the hazards. Some folks could finger paint for a life time and not be affected at all, others are much more sensitive. Those artists that are tolerant to these chemicals now may not be so in the future.  Here are some of the things to be cautious about: Do not blend with fingers! Since you can't blend while wearing gloves, that helps break the habit. Wear gloves when opening paint tubes, and use a small pliers if necessary. Trying to protect your hands with cloth or paper towels doesn't work. Things can get messy. Try not to get paint on you. Don't remove paint with solvents if you get some on you. Don't eat or drink while painting. Wash your hands before doing anything else after you finish your painting session. Try wearing latex or vinyl gloves like wearing blue or black nitrile gloves. Eliminate solvents from studio. Use citrus solvents instead. Wear gloves when using some types of charcoal. Know which ones are toxic. Avoid fumes: MSDS have updated their findings from years past--there are more recognized carcinogens. Use a barrier cream--even with gloves if you want. Don't clean brushes by grinding them in your hands with a cleaner. Natural is not always safe or harmful. Know the difference. Biodegradable is not always safe or harmful. Know the difference. Obtain further information to determine if a natural or biodegradable product is safe for you. Harmful products can be ingested as well as absorbed. Use some kind of an exhaust system in studio. Clean filters often. Water alone may not get rid of many hazards. Moving to another medium is not automatically safe. Both mediums need to be analyzed. Keep fingers out of the mouth. Keep brushes out of your mouth. Don't lubricate or shape brushes in your mouth. Keep paint and solvents off the skin. Don't inhale pigment dust. Don't inhale fumes. Bob Ross died of cancer, lymphoma, he inhaled volatile oils from the paint thinner as they were evaporating. Eat right and get regular exercise. Okay to wear white gloves--even under latex or vinyl ones. Use Hygenall LeadOff Wipes when necessary for removing lead and other metals from your hands. It breaks the electromagnetic bond and is better than soap and water.  If you use lead white or flake white, lead-based primers/grounds, you can find the product on Amazon.  Don't dispose of paint down the drain. Make sure that what you dispose of from your painting studio is being recycled. Paintings are off-gassing while hanging on our walls and in our storage areas. Avoid high concentrations and extraordinary exposure to anything toxic. Wearing an apron is an option. Latex gloves can be harmful to those who are allergic. Are nitrile vinyl gloves harmful? No. Nitrile gloves are made from acrylonitrile and butadiene, both carcenigens but apparently rendered safe in the reactive process. ABS modified plastic. A-acrylonitrile, B-butidiene, S-styrene is nasty stuff until reacted. Gloves in a bottle will also remove good bacteria from your holobiome/microbiome so don't overuse.  Even if none of these things apply to you, they may apply to those people and pets around you--even the environment.



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