View Full Version : Dust Question

07-23-2010, 08:15 PM
Hi, all. I just began a pastel class 3 weeks ago. I wasn't happy about being required to use pastels in the beginning. They felt awkward. But gradually, I am having more success with them and I am falling in love with this beautiful medium.

In an artists' magazine, I read about a pastel artist who said that he keeps a hepa filter running while he uses pastels. My question is, is a filter necessary? I haven't noticed dust particles freely flowing in the air, although I'm sure there are some, but is a small amount dangerous to breathe in? I do plan to do many more pastel paintings, but I've become worried about health risks. What do you think?

Deborah Secor
07-23-2010, 08:50 PM
Hi LeslieErica, your question is a good one, and we often get questions like it here. I did a search for you and found this list:
You might check that page and see if any of the threads contain helpful information for you. I painted for many years with no filter, but everyone has to decide for herself what's safe and necessary.

Enjoy painting in our wonderful medium!

07-23-2010, 09:07 PM
Hi, Deborah. Thank you so much for the link. I am convinced that I need to take precautions before the dust begins to cause problems for me. I'll use a surgical mask until I can get a hepa filter. Thanks again for your help!!!

07-24-2010, 10:39 PM
I just use a dust mask and that seems to be enough. I do have a HEPA filter that I run periodically to clean the room, but I don't use it every time I paint.

Here are some previous threads on the subject:


Hope these help!


07-25-2010, 01:49 AM
I asked this question to a rep from Windsor Newton....he said there is no real problem now because no one uses toxic things in the pastel....he said the worst might be someone sensitive with asthma breathing in the calcite in the pastel( not sure I have the right word) could cause some little problem. He said there is very little pigment in most of them which are tints....Of course some are always super sensitive to things....so you have to decide for yourself...I don't use a filter either, but sometimes run a cleaner like Don, and I try to keep the dust contained.

07-25-2010, 06:58 PM
Don and Wine Country, thank you for responding to my post.
I went out yesterday and bought a mask that listed protection against, among other things, sanding wood and pollen. I also wipe my work area when I'm finished with a session. I was vacuuming the carpet under my easel when I finished working for the day, but one of the posts that Don supplied suggested that the vacuum cleaner may be redistributing the dust. So I've placed a vinyl table cloth beneath the easel, which I wipe down when I'm finished. I'm going to try these precautions for awhile, and if I need to do more, if the coughing and sneezing return, I will invest in a filter.

Thanks Don for all of the links. And thanks, everyone for all of your help and responses.