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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
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.