Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Artists Beware!

Pablo Picasso once said that art "washes from the soul the dust of everyday life," but what about the body? Many artists are still unaware of how much they may be suffering for their art. In fact many, if not most, art and craft supplies contain toxic substances which could pose a significant heath risk.

How Exposure Occurs:

Exposure to toxins found in art and craft supplies can occur via the skin, through ingestion and through inhalation.

Skin contact with hazardous toxins not only can result in local irritation, but can also pass into the bloodstream, potentially damaging organs.

Ingestion of toxins can occur by many means. Eating, drinking or even smoking near the work-space can result in the ingestion of toxins. Chemically-laden dust can settle in a coffee cup, food can absorb vapors, and substances inhaled through a cigarette can actually be changed into something even more dangerous by the heat! Artists also have been known to hold brushes and work tools in their mouths.

Meanwhile, gases, aerosols, vapors, powders, clays and dusts are readily inhaled in an artist's workspace. These present significant and frightening health risks, which may result in everything from eczema to lung damage.

Safety Tips and Precautions

Ventilation and Purification
Almost every caustic art supply comes with a warning on the label: Use in a well ventilated area. But is that enough? In many cases, ordinary fans may actually reintroduce toxic chemicals into the immediate workspace. Opening a door or window may create similar problems, as airflow can vary with temperate and wind. The ideal solution, is an air cleaning product that fully adsorbs and holds in the toxic airborne substances. An AllerAir unit equipped with a VOC, deep-bed carbon is a perfect choice. The deeper bed will actually increases dwell-time allowing more of the harmful gases, vapors and chemicals to be adsorbed.

Art supply stores are slowly rising to the challenge of providing safer alternatives to caustic materials. Wherever possible, the user should substitute hazardous supplies with safer materials. See if a "Material Safety Data Sheet" is available for the product. Choose to work with products that don't create a mist or significant amounts of dust.

Personal Hygiene and Proper Storage
Keep eating, living and working areas separate. A second purifier should be used in your storage area if your supplies are kept in an enclosed space. Remember to wear work clothes and wash them frequently - keep them separate from everyday clothes. Avoid using turpentine, toluene or other solvents to clean hands - if soap and water doesn't do the trick, try baby oil.

Safeguard your talent ! Protect yourself !

Are you with an art supply store or art co-op ?
Are you interested in learning more ?
Are you interested in carrying AllerAir products ?
Contact Richard, Air Quality Expert and Art Account Executive 1-888-852-8247

Marketing Dept.

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