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javismiles
08-15-2002, 04:16 PM
Hi, my question is about, is there a list of which pigments are considered these days to be toxic? are still any of those toxic pigments being employed in artists paints today?
there also seems to be differences in how this topic is approached in different countries. I have read somewhere that for example Cadmium is classified as non-toxic in some countries and as toxic in others - and of those that are regarded as toxic, are they toxic by inhalation, contact with skin, (eating them obviously I guess :) ) , or I just suppose it is different in each one of them , anyway , I just wanted to know your views in general about this issue, is this topic, today , at the year 2002, still relevant in todays painting materials? toxic pigments, still any of them around within today paints? if so, are they really dangerous? etc, etc, any views on this?
thanks :)
Javi :)

Luis Guerreiro
08-15-2002, 06:55 PM
Hi Javi,

Congrats for your website. Well designed and you have got interesting stuff there.
As for your question on pigments, yes there is plenty of toxic pigments around.

I'd like to recommend this book, as a possible choice:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/1581152043/qid=1029452198/sr=1-26/ref=sr_1_2_26/202-6699184-8744617

You may also check Ralph Mayer's Artists Handbook and Max Doerner's "The Materials of the Artist and Their Use in Painting With Notes on Their Techniques of the Old Masters ", which can be found at:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/search-handle-form/202-6699184-8744617

Best

Luis :)

javismiles
08-15-2002, 07:00 PM
Luis, thanks for the feedback on my site :) and thanks lots for the references :) will definitely check those, had heard of Doerners book, so Its now a good time to find it, thanks again :)
Javi :)

javismiles
08-15-2002, 07:10 PM
actually, Id like to specify where my question comes from, cause maybe that puts some light on the exact background of it . Basically I have a very good friend with an illness called CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) , dont know if u have heard of it, people with this illness are so tired, they cannot work, it affects their inmune and nervous system, etc, anyway , long story - the thing is that months ago I taught my friend how to paint with watercolours and that kind of saved him (his mood) as he loves it and it is the only thing that doesnt tire him mentally or physically, he really enjoys it - the thing is that one of the things that can affect this CFS illness are heavy metals - so before he started painting , they went to doctors and asked , hey , could using paints have any bad consequence on his already so fragile health? and of course as u can suppose, doctors do not really have a clue about it, about if paints do or do not have any toxic stuff that could be harmful for this boy - so in the end anyway , he paints often , almost every day and he loves it, he is using VanGogh watercolours, in theory , this particular range of VanGogh watercolours specify that they do not have any toxic metal within them, should we believe them? I Guess so... in any case I guess that as long as he (he is 27 years old) doesnt eat or inhale anything there shouldnt be any problem in regards to his CFS illness, I dont know if skin contact with paints can be any problem, cause it does happen from time to time, - anyway as u can see, I only came to ask this because it is related to this illness to this dear person, I wouldnt worry about myself , but I do wonder about him

thanks for listening to that
Javi :)

Luis Guerreiro
08-15-2002, 10:48 PM
Hello Javi,

I see the problem. Van Gogh paints are manufactured in the Netherlands by ROYAL TALENS.
Their website is http://www.talens.com/
Check it up as their colour charts indicate the pigments being used. I reckon some will be metal based, but pigments are not so dangerous when made into paint with binder. Another matter would be for him to deal with pigments in powder form, but that is not the case.
If you need any assistance, let me know and I will be able to check pigments you might have doubts about with my documentation.
I am sorry about your good friend suffering and his illness which as far as I know, is indeed a serious condition.
Well, I am here to help if necessary.
Kind regards
Luis :)

Leopoldo1
08-15-2002, 11:42 PM
Originally posted by javismiles
etc, etc, any views on this?
thanks :)
Javi :)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Aug-2002/toxic2.jpg

Einion
08-16-2002, 01:03 AM
Hi Javier, if your friend doesn't have any bad habits like pointing his brushes in his mouth he should have no problems whatsoever. As long he doesn't touch the wet paint much, applying texture with his fingertips for instance, this is pretty much the only viable route for pigments to enter the body.

As a bonus, the Van Gogh line are all synthetic organic pigments, so with the exception of aluminium and copper they are free heavy metals, certainly from the more toxic ones like cobalt, lead and cadmium.

Luis, remember in watercolours and the binder offers far less protection than in acrylics or oils.

Einion

javismiles
08-16-2002, 04:24 AM
Luis, Leopoldo, Einion , thanks loads for all your help :)
Ive gone to royal talens web site, and printed the list of colours plus the composition in chemical of them, they definitely got rid of the worst metals , at least all the ones I know of that are called heavy metals , and replaced them with alternatives
("In addition it is safe to work with Van Gogh Water Colours, because all pigments used are free from harmful heavy metals")

Their list of pigments composition is quite good, in here :
http://www.talens.com/mainartistinfo.html

thats interesting about watercolours binder being weaker than oils or acrylics, I had heard something about that in the past, so I guess that means that some risk could exist in touching it too much with the hands, although I guess not in inhalation unless people played with the pigment in powder - will try to tell the boy not to end up with too much paint in his hands after his work

by the way, just to confirm,
I have seen in one of the rows of Leopoldos chart that in earth colours - umber (clay , iron oxide, manganese) there is warning about toxicity - I always thought that iron was a not dangerous metal , am I wrong? is iron a problem as well?
so now that u make me think about it, are iron and carbon totally safe?


thanks again for all your help
Javi :)

javismiles
08-16-2002, 04:29 AM
Leopoldo , one question about that row of earth colours,
I see that it says H, high toxicity in ingestion or inhalation -
would that mean for example that in sepia or sanguine Conte chalks that as far as I know are made of iron oxide (not completely sure about this) , inhaling any of the dust of the chalks would enter the toxicity area?
just curious :)

Javi

Leopoldo1
08-16-2002, 07:10 PM
Originally posted by javismiles
Leopoldo , one question about that row of earth colours,
I see that it says H, high toxicity in ingestion or inhalation -
would that mean for example that in sepia or sanguine Conte chalks that as far as I know are made of iron oxide (not completely sure about this) , inhaling any of the dust of the chalks would enter the toxicity area?
just curious :)

Javi

Javi, this format was given to me years ago by an instructor at our community college when I began my journey into oil painting. I have held onto this page for years. I found it useful for understanding some basics about oil pigments, transparency/opaque, fast/medium/slow and toxicity ratings. Your issue about the highs for ingestion and inhalation puzzle me as well in the earth ranges? The earth pigments are the least harmful, including your question about sanquine and sepias. But of course, if you went outside and ate enough local soil, I am sure some health issues would crop up.

I treat all pigments as toxic, even though the leads and cadmiums are the primary culprits! That even includes the Gamblin line which seems to incompass so much controversy lately with their march into environmental bliss. As we all know, good hygiene will keep one safe. Watch the casual spirit taking when active, for carelessness can more easily creep in...............L

paintfool
08-16-2002, 09:26 PM
Originally posted by Leopoldo
I treat all pigments as toxic, even though the leads and cadmiums are the sole outstanding culprits! That even includes the Gamblin line would seems to incompass so much controversy with their march to environmental bliss. As we all know, good hygiene will keep one safe. Watch the casual spirit taking when active, for carelessness can creep in...............L
Very wise advice. :)

Blueskies
08-16-2002, 11:24 PM
This has been a concern of mine for a while. My dad died of a nasty cancer...anyone watching him go would think twice about smoking or dealing with any chemicals at all. He was so cavalier about solvents and stuff, not to mention nicotine
I handle all my art supplies as if they are toxic, at least to ingest. I'm careful to wash my hands a lot, and use good ventilation, and not to eat or drink while painting. Other than that, what really can one do more?
when all is said and done, life is toxic. I clean my house with antibacterial cleaner, I drive a car , my house is warmed by natural gas. The air is full of toxins. We can only reduce the ones we control.

Einion
08-17-2002, 01:27 AM
It is trace levels of other elements like heavy metals that account for the toxicity warnings for some earths; in the case of Raw Umber it is manganese dioxide, MnO<small>2</small>. Although we think of earths as being iron compounds, often the iron is present at levels that qualify as little more than a contaminant. Natural Yellow Ochre for example might only be 40% iron oxide, the rest being clay, silicates and, not to forget, water.

I agree it is good advice to treat all art materials as though they are toxic, they might be to you. But it's worth pointing out that the warnings about pigments are centred on inhalation of the dry pigment dust, so those who use pastels, sand their paintings or make their own paint, work safe!

Einion

javismiles
08-17-2002, 04:12 AM
all of this youve posted is great advice , thank u all , I see this issue now clearer, great help

Javi :)

artbabe21
08-22-2002, 11:48 AM
Leopoldo,
Since you said that your list was old, I am guessing the naples
yellow which there is circled as poisoness, is not anymore? I believe I read it was not any longer.

This is a good point, treating all pigments as though they are toxic. In the past I didn't use as much care as I do now, even wearing gloves which I find a pain.

Is there that much danger with turps, if the container is closed and just opened to swirl a brush then washed with water. How about in a medium mix? Breathing this even with windows open, w/ odorless, has to still be harmful? Some artists have gone to water soluble due to this but I couldn't give up my real oils. It sounds like giving up cads wouldn't entirely give one a 'safe' palette either!

When I think of all the painters before us, Monet living until 84, Renoir 78, and I am sure they were not treating these pigments as toxic what w/the drinking/smoking, possibly mulling their own paint........so that's only to say painters then weren't falling over dead constantly for the toxic effects of their craft. But I have to note that then there did not exist the toxins we have in our daily lives back then so perhaps they were ahead of us in that area anyway and exercising extreme caution will keep us painting longer.

javismiles
08-22-2002, 02:39 PM
I agree with u, anyway I dont think it matters much if a painter lived 100 years, many smokers also live 100 years and still smoking is just as dangerous; I think that at the end of the day, we are all different, we have different sensitiveness to different things, some us catch some illnesses easier than others, etc, we are all different and it is up to us, to each one of us if we want to work or not with toxic material or how close we want to get to them - I do agree with all of u that taking the basic care measures that u have all outlined, there shouldnt be any problem for anybody who paints

greetings and thank u all for your advice
Javi :)

karenlee
06-01-2011, 03:12 PM
Is this a ghost post? from 2002? How did this thread get back in today's new posts?

sidbledsoe
06-01-2011, 04:09 PM
When someone just votes but doesn't post, it brings it up to the top of the list anyway, even if it is from WC!'s earliest days. No one has posted a reply in this one for almost a decade but someone just voted in it! :D

dcorc
06-01-2011, 09:06 PM
May I suggest closing the poll, Sid.


Dave

sidbledsoe
06-01-2011, 09:59 PM
Will do, thanks much Dave, I was wondering if I should.