For health issues in the studio, rather than repeat what experts are
writing, we feel we should steer you to some of the sources below for
answers about health concerns:
• One thing we feel we should address
is the confusion about odiferous v. odorless oil medium and solvents.
The experts say that generally, given the same concentration of each, the odorless
mediums and solvents are less toxic. However, if one is not habitually filtering
or venting their studio air, the odorless chemicals can become more of a problem.
For example, if you are using a smelly one and the concentration of it starts
to build in your studio, you will walk out or purge the air. With an odorless
medium or solvent you could build up a very high concentration, which might
be quite harmful, without realizing it.
Without using a good activated carbon filter or venting system an odiferous
medium or solvent may be safer: at least you know when the concentration builds
in your studio air. If, on the other hand, you continuously clean the mediums
and solvents from your studio air by using Artist’s Air or a strong venting
system, the amount of either material would be very low. Therefore, the less-toxic
ones would be preferable.
Health & Safety in the Arts—A Searchable Database of Health & Safety
Information for Artists:
Health Hazards in the Arts: Information (on publications) for Artists,
Craftspeople, and Photographers:
Princeton University's Art Safety Training Guide:
Guide to Using Art & Craft Materials
Arts, Crafts & Theater Safety
Rossol, Chemist, Artist, and Industrial hygienist has authored or co-authored
the following books:
The Artist's Complete Health and Safety Guide, Allworth Press, (1990;
2nd Ed., 1994; 3rd Ed., 2001). Winner of 1996 Choice Outstanding Academic
Book Award from the Association of College and Research Libraries. It
provides health, safety, and regulatory information for US/Canadian artists.
Included are charts of hundreds of pigments, metals, minerals, solvents,
plastics, paints, and other materials used in the arts with recommendations
about choosing the safest products and the ventilation and other precautions
needed to work safely with these materials.
Keeping Clay Work Safe & Legal (1993, 2nd Ed., 1996) published by the National
Council on Education for the Ceramic arts. It provides coverage of all the
major health & safety hazards and precautions for ceramics and can function
as an OSHA training text for ceramics workers and teachers.
Danger: Artist at Work! Thorpe Publishing, Monona Rossol was senior author
with Ben Bartlett coauthor (1991, 2nd Ed., 1996) published in Australia for
Australian art and theater workers.
Overexposure: Health Hazards in Photography, Allworth Press, co- authored with
Susan Shaw, (1991). An in depth treatment of the hazards of photographic chemicals.