The entire world keeps talking about how its not that hard to blog about something ! Where do I begin, I am still struggling how to start this very first blog article of mine. I am a professionally trained scientist and I consider myself as an artist too, but a writer? Well, at least not a creative writer because I have published articles in scientific journals. I was quite frustrated on the weekend staring at a blank screen waiting for that moment to strike! Aha! I know how to write an opening line! Well, that moment never arrived! So, I ditched the whole idea to have that perfect creative post. Instead, I decided to just dive into the topic that matters to me a lot. Indeed, its health and safety issue in the Art world. Who would have thought that it matters? Perhaps, if I didn’t have a science background I too would have remained ignorant about the hazards that are associated with the art supplies. How many of you know what’s in an artist’s pigment?
If any art material has a hazard warning mentioned on the back of the paint I take notice. Health and safety aren’t often mentioned in connection with fine arts, but we are exposed to more toxins than we may be aware of. You may know that the cadmiums, cobalts, chromes, lead are toxic but what about your other paint colors? Are they toxic? I am not saying do not use such paints. In fact, I believe that would be pretty much impossible, but you should know what you are handling. Simply because ignorance is not bliss!
I don’t want to write a scientific post here but just a little chemistry: most, but not all, of the toxicity issues are associated with heavy metals such as copper, cobalt, cadmium, lead, chromium etc. Chronic exposure to these poisons the body, and many are known or suspected to be carcinogens. If you remember your periodic table from high school chemistry class, these are transition metals from that central section. So a quick rule of thumb is that if there’s heavy metal in pigment, it’s probably toxic.
Safety is as simple as ABC = Always Be Careful
DISCLAIMER: This article concerns itself with the common-sense safety aspects of art materials and art safety in general. The intent of this article is merely to raise individual awareness of some of the issues involved and to encourage the reader to take steps in learning more about the factors involved with the hazards associated with the artist’s materials. The author may change the contents of this document at any time, either in whole or in part.Thanks.