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jackiesimmonds
08-22-2008, 04:20 AM
I recently had a vile bout of bronchitis which would not go away. In the end, the doc sent me for a chest Xray.

the result showed that I have really poor lung volumes; in fact they asked if I was a smoker, because my lungs looked like a smoker with bronchitis.

I have never smoked, so they then told me that in that case, I am showing a tendency to asthma.

On reflection, it concerns me that perhaps my lung function has been affected by pastel dust. I have always ignored all warnings, except to work in a large room with good ventilation, which I do.

However, I dont wear a mask, and must breathe in loads of the stuff.

Just a thought.

Colorix
08-22-2008, 06:09 AM
Jackie, the chance is big that if you start wearing a mask, your lungs will heal pretty well -- even a smoker who quits get nearly normal lungs after 5 years of non-smoking. (Healing is gradual, starting immediately, but taking a good while to be completed.)

Mine workers, quarrymen, textile workers, you name it, any place where there is lot of dust in the air, people working there get problems with their lungs, so it makes sense that pastellists have to be careful. We don't really know if we are in the more sensitive group or not.

Having had asthma since childhood, I always wear a mask in my studio. Not outdoors, though. Working on sanded paper like Wallis, Fischer etc helps keep the dust literally down, while the tiny fibers of the velour I tried worked as a springboard and shot it up in the air a handsbreadth or two with every stroke. I think it is the utterly fine dust that may be a problem -- that little cloud of dust that is visible (barely) when backlit, not the dust that falls off and can be collected, as that has rather large particles that for starters don't hover much, and are heavy enough to get caught in the mucous membranes of the nose.

Let us take Loving Tender Care of ourselves and be careful with the dust.

Charlie

DAK723
08-22-2008, 08:29 AM
Sorry, Jackie to hear of your plight. Hopefully, if you start wearing a mask, things will improve quickly. While good ventilation is a must for oil painters and their fumes, it doesn't remove the dust from the air, it just blows it around. You might look into an air purifier, or air filter of some kind - something that filters the air to remove the dust. About 20 years ago I stopped using pastels almost completely because I couldn't handle the dust. Started using a mask about 5 years ago and haven't had any trouble since.

Air filters are expensive. Perhaps some folks who use them can chime in about their experience with them and whether they are effective or not. Here is a link to some of Dick Blick's models:

http://www.dickblick.com/zz528/33/

Madison Art shop sells this very expensive, but intriguing easel vacuum attachment:

http://www.madisonartshop.com/araireaairpu.html

Good luck to you,

Don

HarvestMoon
08-22-2008, 09:55 AM
Jackie- I have had exactly the same problem....BUT it was BEFORE I even started using pastels.....I had asthma as a child, grew out of it, and once when in London caught a really nasty flu that became bronchitis then worse...and have had asthma very badly every since....and it gets as bad as you say- they said I had the lung capacity of a 95 year old when I was 43!

It is much better at the moment though- and I have recently gone to a vegan diet, no junk food, and more exercise....but find that when I do have an attack it is almost always due to allergies to my pets....indoor dogs, cats, birds...oddly, the pastel dust does not seem to bother me at all....not to say that it can't....and we should all take precautions I am sure

sure hope you feel better soon.....

jemgold
08-22-2008, 10:19 AM
Jackie, So sorry to hear of your bout with bronchitis. For the past 7 yrs, I've had a bougt nearly each winter. Usually it's brought on by a cold I've picked up somewhere. The first time I spent 7 days in the hospital. I didn't start painting with pastel until about 4 yrs ago so that didn't start it. I smoked when I was younger but haven't in 35 yrs.
I normally do not paint in the house and in the winter I usually go back to watercolor. I'm blessed to have a wonderful porch that makes a great studio in the spring, summer & fall. I don't know if the dust aggrivates it or not but I don't want to take a chance.
Well I hope you don't have to go thru that again but be careful and take care of yourself.

klord
08-22-2008, 01:33 PM
HI Jackie,

I hope you are on your way to a quick recovery. THank you for bringing this topic up, as I think it is important, too.

I want to share a product that has worked wonders for my eyes and lungs, the www.artistsair.com (http://www.artistsair.com). This product is quite expensive, but has saved me a few dollars on doctor's visits! So it has probably already paid for itself. I have attached this to my easel in the studio, and the dust has dropped significantly! The noise level on its lowest speed is very tolerable, and I use it on the medium speed with music, it turns into a kind of white noise. When I am going to scrub a whole passage off, I will turn it up to the highest setting and go to town with the bristle brush.

For those of you going to the IAPS convention, this product will probably be there for you to see.

CindyW
08-22-2008, 02:04 PM
Hi Jackie,
Have you checked also if you are becoming allergic to your cat/s? Did you recently buy new carpeting? Did you recently get a studio where there are no open windows or was once a manufacturing building? Do you walk much around congested traffic areas? Sadly, there are so many microscopic airborne particles flying around our breathing air these days, both inside AND out, there just could be so many different reasons for this to have happened beyond pastel dust.
I remember quite a few extensive threads on air quality on this forum.....good to remind oneself to keep aware of the environment.

jackiesimmonds
08-22-2008, 02:34 PM
thanks everyone for your comments and concern. Re the allergy idea, my husband has commented on that, I have ALWAYS had cats tho, but then again, given my years, I almost always have pastelled!

I will check out the allergy thing.

Reckon I am on the mend now, tho I rattle from the number of pills I am taking!

take care all.

J

atelier_m
08-22-2008, 02:47 PM
Years ago I took a workshop from Harley Brown. I bought my first sift pastels for that workshop. At the end of the first day of the workshop, I went back to the hotel, took a shower and then blew my nose. Oh my goodness, the Kleenex was all the colors of the rainbow. I could not believe how much dust I had inhaled. I stopped at the hardware store the next morning to pick up a mask. I have worn one ever since. I was the only one in the workshop who did wear one though.

The dust can settle on you and your hair while you work. Then you transfer it to your pillow. So, a good rinse off at the end of the day isn't a bad idea.
I have been looking at one of those easel vacuums.

Mary

aszurblue
08-22-2008, 03:32 PM
I just ordered and got a set of PanPastels, I haven't got into them yet, would the same apply to them? What about the Pastel pencils? I have COPD first stage. I stopped smoking two years ago:clap: and the only thing that makes it hard to breathe is dust and hot moist air(no more very hot showers for this kid:( ).

Jackie, I hope you are feeling much much better now and thank you for the heads up. I will get a hepa filter for my work space... Today... Azure

Sonni
08-22-2008, 06:32 PM
Years ago I took a workshop from Harley Brown. I bought my first sift pastels for that workshop. At the end of the first day of the workshop, I went back to the hotel, took a shower and then blew my nose. Oh my goodness, the Kleenex was all the colors of the rainbow. I could not believe how much dust I had inhaled. I stopped at the hardware store the next morning to pick up a mask. I have worn one ever since. I was the only one in the workshop who did wear one though.

The dust can settle on you and your hair while you work. Then you transfer it to your pillow. So, a good rinse off at the end of the day isn't a bad idea.
I have been looking at one of those easel vacuums.

Mary

You took a workshop FROM HARLEY BROWN :eek: :thumbsup: . Pardon me, while I pick myself up and begin whining. :crying: :music: :envy: .

atelier_m
08-22-2008, 07:37 PM
You took a workshop FROM HARLEY BROWN :eek: :thumbsup: . Pardon me, while I pick myself up and begin whining. :crying: :music: :envy: .

:D Yes, I did ... and it was the best workshop I ever took, bar none. :thumbsup: On top of that, it was in Napa!

I've taken workshops from some great painters who were great teachers, some great painters who were so-so teachers, some good painters who were dogs as teachers and one who should have issued refund checks including our hotel and travel expenses. So, it runs the gamut.

But, Harley is in a class all by himself. His enthusiasm is infectious, his energy endless, his good humor boundless, his knowledge out of this world ... and his ability to impart it amazing. I came away from his workshop a different artist. He is the teacher I model my teaching on. If I can do that for my students, I will have done my job.

I have often said, that if he were still teaching workshops, I would cross the country on my knees to get there. :p

So, Sonni ... you're entitled to whine. ;)

Mary

Sonni
08-23-2008, 12:31 AM
:D

I have often said, that if he were still teaching workshops, I would cross the country on my knees to get there. :p

So, Sonni ... you're entitled to whine. ;)

Mary

I'd get out the knee pads and join you! I have his book, Eternal Truths, and use it,...have "talked" to him on e-mail a couple times, and he even commented on a post I made over in Figure (he posts under "makinart")...said I had a "good attitude" :lol: :evil:. I'll be d*mned. Napa, huh? Wonder why he doesn't do workshops anymore--he's not that old. Well, my age, and that ain't old, is it?

Bill Foehringer
08-23-2008, 10:03 AM
It's good to be aware of the dust. There have been times when I've been outside and found my face full of dust when I looked in the rear view mirror of the car. So even outdoors the wind can blow the dust right at us to breathe. BillF

snowfall
08-24-2008, 09:46 AM
Hi Jackie

Hope you are feeling better.

Thank you for posting your message which has just come at a good time for me. As I am a beginner to pastels I have not been too concerned with the safety aspect and think to myself "Oh I will be alright, it won't happen to me," or "I don't do enough pastel painting for it to affect me." But this is the wrong attitude to take and as a result of your post I will be making sure that I wear a mask every single time (even if I am only using pastel pencils), wear protective gloves, and lay a dust sheet down etc.

I think it is important that beginners take notice of this as it becomes very easy to forget the basics in the excitement of producing our works of art!

Pam

gourdburner
08-24-2008, 11:31 AM
I'm glad to see this post as well. Pretty new to pastels and I have noticed my sinuses and lungs feel stuffy the next morning when I'm using them (like today). I've got asthma and beginning copd (ex smoker) so can't afford any lung problems that I can avoid. I've got an air cleaner I use when working on gourds (another addiction) and wonder if I could set it up to work with the pastels as well. Have to take a look at doing that.

chewie
08-24-2008, 09:10 PM
i notice when i didn't use an air machine (one of those filter things) my nose and eyes would itch. then i bought one of those things on sale at menards, and when i use it i can certainly tell it! no more colored kleenex! it was well worth the money. i don't use anything else, mask is annoying but if i had any serious lung issues, i sure would be using that too.

ourcassidy!
08-24-2008, 11:30 PM
RE: A word of Warning! Jackie so sorry to hear you are having trouble with your health. I was wondering as well if the PAnPAstels are as bad for one as the stick, softies?

Pam

scall0way
08-25-2008, 01:21 PM
I stopped at the hardware store the next morning to pick up a mask. I have worn one ever since. I was the only one in the workshop who did wear one thoughy

Man, if I had to wear a mask I'd have to give up art! I mean it. I suffer such severe claustrophobic panic attacks when I have a mask on that I almost pass out from not being able to breathe - *any* kind of mask! Just *thinking* about wearing a mask is giving me a minor panic attack right now.

And pastels are the only art medium I enjoy. I do have some lung issues, but I've had them for 25+ years (and am a lifetime non-smoker) and have only been pastelling since 2005. Certainly things don't seem any *worse* since I began with pastels. At one point I thought of trying to "convert" to oil pastels to avoid the dust - but they just don't give me the same satisfaction.

Of course I also live with 3 cats, 2 fluffy dogs, and lots of dust and hair all over the place - far more than mere pastel dust!

AliciaS
08-25-2008, 04:05 PM
I have had bad sinus infections and problems for several years now...I have finally narrowed it down to pastel dust.
Not to complain anymore than anyone else but...I also have very bad joint pain in my thumb and finger that is constantly swollen.
but..............we continue right? and I know of many artists who live to a very ripe old age....pastel dust and turpintine and all....
and if we can find a way to work around it all the better..

Wrichards
08-25-2008, 04:36 PM
with regard to Pan Pastels, The dust is very little to nothing as far as I can tell.

Adriana Meiss
08-28-2008, 12:16 AM
Jackie,
I wish you a fast recovery.

I had problems with dust too. My symptoms were mostly dry throat, and cough.
I tried wearing a mask but found it too bothersome because my glasses would constantly get fogged up.

I did some research and a month ago I made an improvement by purchasing an air cleaner. The one I have is not the best but it works. It's a Kenmore 85254 with a HEPA filter, that on sale, with an extra filter, cost me about $170.

I hope to upgrade to an artistair someday.

nana b
08-28-2008, 09:59 PM
Yes, I am thinking strongly about an air cleaner. My nose itches and twitches and it stings inside. Not all the time just when I'm doing pastel cleaning and correcting large areas of the painting. I can also smell the pastels themselves at those times, can't tell you what they smell like but I do notice it. I also sneeze a lot and they are big sneezes. I cannot wear a mask, I can't breathe and I have anxiety feelings, so can't stay on the right side of the brain or stay in the zone. I have thought someone should invent nose covers that filters out the dust:) ...really... it might not be quite as bad as the whole mask. Maybe we could put our WC minds together and invent something. I thought about cuttting a mask down but it wouldn't fit right.

Jackie, I also want to wish you a fast recovery. Please let us know how you're getting along:heart:

nana

nana

paintbug
06-07-2009, 10:52 AM
Hello
This thread is not currently active, but this may help someone who wants to reduce exposure to dust.
Recently I was in a hospital pharmacy and they had an elaborate dust filtering work area.
The whole area was boxed in with filters in the back. Fans draw the air away from the worker and through the filters.
This might be more than is needed for pastels, but it gave me an idea. I did a online search and found this, it is called a boxfan dust filter.
http://lumberjocks.com/woodspar/blog/1553
Construction seem to be pretty straightforward and it is portable too.
I may build this myself.:)

artist_pw
06-09-2009, 08:00 PM
Hi:

Thanks for posting this link - it almost looks like you might not actually need the box, if you could just attach a filter to the back of a box fan with clips or wires. Also, I took a look at the expensive air filtering system, and it looks like at least something a bit similar could be made from a shop vac or another vaccuum (maybe not quite as quiet), some tubing that can easily be found in a hardware store, some foamcore, masonite or plywood, and some appropriate filters for a lot less. Maybe it wouldn't have quite the level of filtering, but I almost bet you could come close, and probably any amount of filtering would help at least a bit.