1. The Business of Being an Artist-Chapter 7 (From School to the Working World) in Daniel Grant (The Business of Being an Artist) oneparagraph-Chapter 5 (Artists and the Law) and 6 (Copyright) oneparagraph-Chapter 8 (The Materials that Artists Use) one paragraph2. The Complete Health and Safety GuideChapters 19-31, Pt. 1-5; please read these chapters. Choose two interesting points to write two paragraphs.3. The statement should be 1 to 2 pages with a 1-inch border on all sides. You can use single or 1.5 spaced lines.
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H E A LT H
Copyright © 2001, 2012 by Monona Rossol
All rights reserved. Copyright under Berne Copyright Convention, Universal Copyright Convention, and Pan American
Copyright Convention. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by
any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the express written consent of the publisher,
except in the case of brief excerpts in critical reviews or articles. All inquiries should be addressed to Allworth Press, 307
West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018.
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15 14 13 12 11
Copublished with the Graphic Artists Guild
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307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10018.
Copublished with the Graphic Artists Guild
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
The artist’s complete health and safety guide / by Monona Rossol.—3rd ed.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
1. Artists—Health and hygiene—Handbooks, manuals, etc. 2. Artists’ materials— Safety measures—Handbooks, manuals,
etc. 3. Artists’ materials— Toxicology—Handbooks, manuals, etc. I. Title.
RC963.6.A78 R67 2001
This book was written to provide the most current and accurate information about health and safety hazards in the arts and
about applicable laws and regulations. However, the author and publisher can take no responsibility for any harm or damage
that might be caused by the use or misuse of any information contained herein. It is not the purpose of this book to provide
medical diagnosis, suggest health treatment, or provide legal or regulatory counseling. Readers should seek advice from
physicians, safety professionals, industrial hygienists, environmental health specialists, and attorneys concerning specific
D E D I C AT I O N
To John S. Fairlie and the vast Fairlie clan to which I belong.
There are so many professional friends and colleagues I would like to thank, but
the list is far too long. Instead, I will mention only a crucial few. First, always is
Jack Holzhueter, who labored long to teach me to write. Next, my thanks to Ted
Rickard at the Ontario College of the Arts for his help on the Canadian
regulations, and to Tad Crawford, who knows how to spur a writer along without
puncturing the ego.
My thanks goes also to the Board of ACTS (Arts, Crafts and Theater Safety),
Susan Shaw, Eric Gertner, Nina Yahr, Elizabeth Northrop, Tobi Zausner, and
Diana Bryan for sharing their expertise and encouragement. And my deepest
gratitude goes to Tom Armino, who gave me the idea of starting ACTS, set up our
accounting system, and served on our board until his death in 1988.
LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES
PART I: THE REGULATED ART WORLD
1: Health and Safety Laws
2: Health Hazards and the Body
3: Chemical Health Hazards and Their Control
4: Physical Hazards and Their Control
5: Identifying Hazardous Materials
6: General Precautions
8: Respiratory Protection
PART II: ARTISTS’ RAW MATERIALS
10: Pigments and Dyes
11: Metals and Metal Compounds
13: Plastics and Adhesives
PART III: PRECAUTIONS FOR INDIVIDUAL MEDIA
14: Painting and Drawing
16: Textile Arts
17: Leather and Other Animal Products
20: Stained Glass
22: Ceramic, Glass, and Enamel Surface Treatments
23: Sculpture, Lapidary, and Modeling Materials
24: Metal Surface Treatments
26: Brazing , Soldering , Casting , and Smithing
28: Wood working
29: Photography and Photoprinting
PART IV: THE NEXT GENERATION
30: Teaching Art
31: Reproductive Risks
APPENDIX A: SOURCES AND ANNOTATED
1: Arts, Crafts, and Theater Safety
2: Governmental Agencies
3: Standards Organizations
4: Commercial Sources
5: Annotated Reference List
APPENDIX B: GLOSSARY
LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES
1: Applicable OSHA Regulations
2: TLV-T WAs of Common Substances
3: Relationship Between Noise Intensity and Decibel Level
4: Threshold Limit Values for Noise
5: Regions of the Optical Radiation Spectrum
6: Industrial Ventilation
7: Respirator Cartridges and Filters
8: Air-Quality Limits for Various Solvents
9: Common Solvents and Their Hazards
10: Hazards of Pigments
11: Hazards of Dyes by Class
12: Benzidine-Congener Dyes
13: Examples of Threshold Limit Values for Metals
14: Hazards of Metals and Metal Compounds
15: Toxic Effects of Common Radicals
16: Air-Quality Standards for Silica
17: Hazards of Common Minerals Used in Ceramics, Sculpture, Lapidary,
18: Additives Common in Water-Based Emulsions
19: Hazards of Adhesives and Polymers
20: Ventilation and Precautions for Painting and Drawing Media
21: Hazards of Mordants, Dye-Assisting ,and Discharge Chemicals
22: Sources of Toxic Kiln Emissions
23: Drinking Water Standards Compared to Federal and California Lead
and Cadmium Glaze Leaching Standards
24: Threshold Values for Some Wax Emissions
25: Some Chemicals Emitted by Two Brands of Scented Candles
26: Metal Cleansers and Degreasers
27: Flux, Patina, and Metal Colorant Chemicals
28: Composition of Common Alloys
29: Proposed Wood Dust Standards
30: Common Darkroom Air Contaminants
31: Precautions for Photoprint Chemicals
32: Outline for a Complete Art Teacher Hazard Communication Training
33: Art Materials and Projects for Children and Other High-Risk
34: Referenced Daily Intakes for Minerals
1: Typical A-Weighted Noise Levels in Decibels (dBA)
2: Material Safety Data Sheet
2A: Minimum Information Required on Canadian MSDSs for Controlled
3: ANSI Protection Standards
4: Eye Protection Products
5: Dilution Ventilation
6: Industrial Ventilation—Processes Requiring Dilution Ventilation
7: Dust Collecting System for a Grinding Wheel
8: Spray Booth
9: Movable Exhaust System
10: Canopy Hood over a Kiln
11: Slot Hood
12: Glove Box for Handling Dry Powders
13: Negative Pressure Ventilation System
14: Lead Warning Symbol
The idea for this book can be traced back to the University of Wisconsin, where I
earned a B.S. in chemistry. I was working and teaching in the chemistry
department when I decided to enter the graduate art program. As I went back and
forth between the chemistry and art schools, it occurred to me that many of the
same acids and other chemicals were used in both places.
As a research chemist, I defended myself against chemicals with goggles,
gloves, fume hoods, and other safety equipment. My art colleagues and I, on the
other hand, saw these same chemicals as art materials that were to be used
lovingly and intimately. As I look back at our work practices now, I think we
must have confused “exposure to art” with “exposure to art materials.”
My first writings on art hazards were graduate school seminar and term papers
in the early 1960s. They were not well received. My classmates and teachers told
me bluntly that this kind of information interfered with their creativity.
Unfortunately, illness and death also interfere with creativity, so I persisted.
I continued to include health hazard information in my teaching. However, it
was only a love labor until 1974, when I received a grand sum of $300 for writing
a ceramic studio evaluation and consultation report on toxic ceramic kiln gases.
I have since done many more important things in the art hazards field, but that
first consultation had the greatest effect on me. It led me to believe that I could do
something for art besides trying to be a good potter and teacher. And because the
consultation was for a cerebral palsy center, it greatly affected my thinking about
the disabled artist’s special health and safety problems.
The book’s subject is necessarily technical, and you may find you have
questions or need additional information. There are data in this book for which I
expected some people would want proof. In these cases, I have cited references.
These footnotes do not always appear in a consistent footnote format, but each
should provide precisely the correct information to assist the reader in accessing
the source of that data. In addition, I have made arrangements for readers to be
able to reach me personally at:
Arts, Crafts, and Theater Safety (ACTS)
181 Thompson Street, #23
New York, New York 10012
Telephone: (212) 777-0062
ACTS is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to providing a variety of health
and safety services for artists. I already answer thousands of requests for
information at ACTS every year and would be proud to hear from you. In fact, the
comments and questions from artists served as a guide for the material covered in
this book. My thanks to you all.
—Monona Rossol, M.S., M.F.A., Industrial Hygienist
T H E R E G U L AT E D
A RT W O R L D
Safety laws and common sense both dictate that we understand the hazards of
the materials we use and the precautions we must take to work safely. Subjects in
which we must be versed include:
Health and Safety Laws
Health Hazards and the Body
How to Identify Hazardous Materials
HEALTH AND SAFETY LAWS
As artists and teachers, most of us believe our creative work must be free,
uninhibited, and independent. Actually, it is encumbered by a host of laws and
For example, fire, health, and safety laws affect how we must design our
studios and what we can teach in our classrooms. And environmental protection
laws limit the kinds of art materials available to us, as well as how we must store,
use, and dispose of them. These laws apply to us, because many materials used in
art contain substances that now are known to be both toxic and hazardous to the
environment. By using these materials improperly, we risk our health and pollute
our world just as industry does. While we each may use much smaller amounts of
chemicals than industry, there are so many of us.
Today, these laws are becoming more restrictive. They not only apply to
professional and industrial materials, but to many common household and hobby
products. Art materials packaged for consumer use, in particular, now are
regulated under a special amendment to the Hazardous Substances Act (see
chapter 5 page 40).
Either we can see these new laws as impositions and resist them at every turn,
or we can accept change and do our share in protecting ourselves and the
environment. But whether we resist or not, progressively stricter regulation and
enforcement is inevitable.
Schools and universities should be at the forefront of this movement. They
could encourage teachers and students to explore safer media, find substitutes for
toxic materials, and research and develop alternatives to hazardous processes.
Schools that teach art also must develop curricula that include formal health
and safety training. This kind of training is already mandated by law for all
employed teachers using toxic art materials (see table 32, page 359), and it should
be made available to students and self-employed artists as well.
Health and safety training for artists, teachers, students, and all users of art
materials should consist of basic industrial hygiene, which has been adapted for
I N D U S T R I A L H Y G I E N E F O R T H E A RT S
Industrial hygiene is the science of protecting workers’ health through control of
the work environment. As an artist–turned–industrial hygienist, I have spent more
than a dozen years specializing in protecting artists from their environments—and
To be honest, I would not describe this work as a “glamorous career in the
arts.” However, my work enables me to visit each year between fifty and a
hundred schools, universities, museums, commercial studios, theaters, and other
sites in the United States, Canada, Australia, and England. I have also been
involved in planning new art buildings, in developing state and federal art
materials regulations, testifying as an expert witness in art-related lawsuits, and
counseling literally thousands of artists, teachers, administrators, and the like.
This book is an attempt to share the perspective I have developed through
these experiences and to provide a training reference to help us comply with
applicable health and safety laws and regulations.
THE CARROTS (INDUCEMENT)
One of the most humbling aspects of my first few years in industrial hygiene was
observing how steadfastly both artists and administrators ignored my advice. I
talked enthusiastically about health and safety programs, ventilation, respiratory
protection, and so on. While I was talking, there would be interest, motivation,
and good intentions. But before my vocal cords cooled, people would be back to
It wasn’t that people didn’t want to be safer and healthier—they did. It wasn’t
that they didn’t understand the technical information—they did. It wasn’t even
that the precautions would cost too much—they often didn’t. The failure to
institute proper health and safety procedures usually boiled down, in the main, to
inertia and old habits.
These are formidable foes. We are all infected terminally with the desire to do
the familiar—even if we know it is not in our best interest. There is an exquisite
pain associated with the effort of hauling habits out of our spinal cord reflexes
and putting them back into our brains to be thought through again. Confronting
this resistance taught me that there is no industrial hygienist clever enough, no
lecturer interesting enough, no argument convincing enough to make us change
the way we make art. The lectures and training only make us feel a little more
guilty as we routinely bet little bits of our life on risky familiar activities.
THE STICKS (ENFORCEMENT)
If lectures and training will not change our habits, force, in the form of our own
governmental agencies and the courts, will. Enforcement is necessary and
beneficial, despite the bitter complaints we hear about excessive jury awards and
restrictive Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules.
And certainly, enforcement works. One lawsuit improves safety practices in
an entire school district overnight. One hefty OSHA fine causes shop managers
for a hundred miles around to put the guards back on the saws.
Personally, I have found that juries and judges usually are fair. And
complaints about the cost of complying with regulations merely reflect our
difficulty in facing the fact that, for far too many years, we have spent far too little
on health and safety.
In this case, the law and the lawsuit are not our enemies. They reflect our own
collective (not always perfect) wisdom in the form of our governmental servants
and a jury of our peers. If you doubt this, try this exercise: Imagine yourself
defending your work practices, reporting your accident, or describing conditions
in your studio or classroom to OSHA or a jury.
L AW S P R O T E C T I N G A RT W O R K E R S
Both the United States and Canada have very complex regulations governing the
relationship between employer and employee. However, whether the regulations
are called the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHAct in the United States)
or Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSAct in Canada), their main purpose
is very simple—to protect workers.
The OSHAct general duty clause reads in part that the “employer shall furnish
. . . employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized
hazards.” The Canadian OHSAct requires employers and supervisors to “take
every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.”
These brief general statements serve as the foundation for complex regulatory
structures. The Acts include rules about chemical exposures, noise, ladder safety,
machinery guarding, and a host of subjects. And many of these rules apply to
schools, art-related businesses, etc.
All of us should be aware of these rules. In my opinion, even high schools
should not graduate students who are unacquainted with their rights in the
workplace. If you also are not versed in these regulations, first call your nearest
department of labor and obtain a copy. Although the Acts are not reader-friendly,
it is worth the extra effort for you to become as familiar with them as possible.
THE RIGHT TO KNOW. Certain OSHA regulations instituted in the late 1980s
are proving particularly useful in pressing us to upgrade our health and safety
practices. These are the so-called right-to-know laws.
United States right-to-know laws were first passed by a number of states.
Then, a similar federal regulation called the OSHA Hazard Communication
Standard (HAZCOM) was instituted. The result is that all employees in the
United States are now covered by one or the other (sometimes both) of these laws.
Even federal workers, so long exempt from OSHA regulations, come under this
rule. There is a similar history in Canada, with the resulting passage of the federal
Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS).
For the most part, both these laws require employers to provide written hazard
communication programs, give workers access to complete inventories and data
sheets for all potentially hazardous chemicals in the workplace, and require
formal training of all employees who potentially are exposed to toxic chemicals.
Even an ordinary office worker comes under the rule if he or she works long
hours with an ozone-producing copy machine. That worker must be told of the
effects of ozone, shown what kind of ventilation is necessary to reduce it to
acceptable limits, given access to a data sheet describing details of the toner’s
hazardous ingredients, instructed formally about what to do if the toner spills, and
How much more, then, should the law be applied to art teachers, craftspeople,
or artists who use hazardous paints, dyes, solvents, metals, and so on!
Yet many schools and art-related businesses still do not comply with the new
laws. This is partly due to a peculiar common belief that the laws do not apply to
art—that art is somehow “special.” Actually, producing art should more correctly
be considered a “light industry” that uses toxic substances to create a product.
This also is how government inspectors see artmaking.
Today, OSHA gives more citations for hazard communi …
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