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Old 05-18-2007, 09:48 PM
Laura D's Avatar
Laura D Laura D is offline
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Paint toxicity report

There have been some concerns about the toxic ingredients in the paints we use, from using in airbushes, spraying out of Biro covers with mouths and disposing of wash water when painting en plein air.

The following information was gathered mainly from one of our sponsors, Dick Blick. Several facts have been gathered from paint manufacturers' websites. I am sure other information is available from different sources.

My intention is to present facts rather than start a debate about right and wrong practices. If a debate persues perhaps it could be carried on elsewhere. Thank you.

Safety Labeling

The Art and Creative Materials Institute, Inc. (*ACMI*) has been evaluating and certifying art, craft, and other creative materials to ensure that they are properly labeled. This certification program is reviewed by ACMI's Toxicology Advisory Board.

Products bearing the AP (Approved Product) Seal of the Art a& Creative Materials Institute, Inc. (ACMI) are certified in a program of toxicological evaluation by a medical expert to contain no materials in sufficient quantities to be toxic or injurous to humans or to cause acute or chronic health problems. These products are certified by ACMI to be labeled in accordance with the chronic hazard labelling standard ASTM D 4236 and Federal law , P.L. 100-695 and there is no physical hazard as defined with 29 CFR Part 1910.1200(c)." (These are US laws.)

Additionally, products bearing the CP Non-Toxic Seal meet specific requirements of material, workmanship, working qualities and color described in appropriate product standards issued by ACMI or other recognized standards organizations.

Products bearing the CL (Cautionary Labeling) Seal identify products that are certified to be properly labeled in a program of toxicological evaluation by a medical expert for any known health risks and with information of the safe and proper use of these materials. This seal appears on only 15% of the adult art materials in ACMI's certification program and on none of the children's materials. These products are also certified by ACMI to be labeled in accordance with the chronic hazard labeling standard, ASTM D 4236 and the U.S. Labeling of Hazardous Art Maertials Act. See our website DickBlick.com for additional safety information.

CA PROP 65 Labeling

The state of California requires clear and reasonable warnings on products containing chemicals that have been shown to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. Even if these products contain only trace levels of harmful chemicals, a warning is required. Caution is recommended when using the products in this catalog that are labeled for CA PROP 65.
Quoted from a Dick Blick catalog.

Other Regulatory Information:

UK regulatory reference: Chemicals (Hazard Information & Packaging) Regulations 1993

EU Directives: Dangerous Preparations Directive 88/379. System of specific information relating to Dangerous Preparations 91/155.

Approved Code of Practice: Classification and Labelling of Substances and Preparations Dangerous for Supply.

Toxic pigments

Aluminum
The dust is an eye and respiratory irritant. Increased levels found in brains of people with Altzheimer's Disease.
Amorphous Silica
Skin and mild eye irritant.
Cadmium, Cadmium Sulphide, Cadmium Selenide
Internal exposure = risk of cancer. Low in acute toxicity. Long term exposure by inhalation and/or ingestion may cause lung disease, kidney damage and increase risk of cancer. Soluable forms are more dangerous.
Carbon Black
Possible carginogen in humans.
Chromium Compounds
Cancer causing agents if exposed internally. May have delayed effect on the respiratory system. Eye and skin irritant.
Cobalt, Soluable Cobalt, Cobalt aluminate, Zinc Chrome Cobalt
May cause damage to the heart or lungs and is a suspected carginogen. May cause shortness of breath, easy fatigability and chest pain. Prolonged contact with skin may result in hives, eczema. Medical conditions such as heart disease and chronic dermatitis can be aggrevated. Do not spray. Wash hands immediately after use. Do not eat, drink or smoke while using. If swallowed get prompt medical attention. For more information contact your local Poison Control center.
Copper
Inhalation and ingestion are dangerous. Short term exposure induces cold-like symptoms and may irritate the eye. Long term exposure can cause skin irritation and discoloration in skin or hair.
Crystalline Silica
A carginogen through inhalation overexposure.
Iron Oxide
Can cause respiratory problems.
Lead
Known poisonous substance affecting:
in children - the brain, nervous system, blood cells and ability to use Vitamin D and calcium.
in adults - serious reproductive problems.
Manganese, Manganese Compounds
Can cause harm to developing fetus.
Nickel
Cancer causing agent. Do not spray.
Quinacradones
May cause demititis. Eye, skin and respiratory irritants.
Phthalocyanines
May cause dermititis. Eye, skin, respiratory irritants.
Titanium dioxide
A suspected carcinogen and reproductive toxicant.
Zinc Oxide
Known to cause cancer and harm reproductive organs/processes
Zinc Sulphide
Eye, nose and throat irritant. Can produce "metal fume fever".

Notes:

CA PROP 65 = California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act. The "65" seal is required on these materials due to health hazards spread through waste disposal as well as personal exposure.

Fires can cause hazardous decomposition: Carbon Monoxide and Carbon Dioxode.

Disposal: Dispose of in accordance with Local Authority requirements.


CL Seal or CA PROP 65 colors by manufacturer

Holbein Watercolors
This product line has been certified in a program of toxicological evaluation by a medical expert and review by a toxicological advisory board (a certification program of ACMI). Due to the absence of recognized hazards in the balance of this product line no MSDS are required by OSHA Hazard Communication Standard. However, good working practices dictate that care be taken to avoid ingestion and unnecessary skin contact and to provide adequate ventilation if spray applying or mixing dry materials in a confined area:
Cobalt Violet Light
Peach Black
Vermillion

Daler-Rowney Artist's Watercolor
Aureolin
Bismuth Yellow
Cadmium Orange
Cadmium Red Deep
Cadmium Red Pale
Cadmium Yellow
Cadmium Yellow Hue
Cadmium Yellow Deep
Cadmium Yellow Pale
Cobalt Blue
Cobalt Blue Deep
Cobalt Green Deep
Cobalt Magenta
Cobalt Turqouise - Green Shade
Ceruleum
Gamboge Hue
Hooker's Green Light
Indian Yellow
Naples Yellow
Nickel Titanate Yellow
Olive Green
Sap Green

Winsor Newton Artisits Watercolors
Aureolin
Cadmium Lemon
Cadmium Orange
Cadmium Red
Cadmium Red Deep
Cadmium Scarlet
Cadmium Yellow
Cadmium Yellow Deep
Cadmium Yellow Pale
Cerulean Blue
Chinese White
Cobalt Blue Deep
Cobalt Blue
Cobalt Green
Cobalt Turquoise
Cobalt Turqouise Light
Cobalt Violet
Indian Yellow
Lemon Yellow (Nickel Titanate)
New Gamboge
Vermillion Hue

DaVinci Professional Watercolors
Aureolin Mix
Cadmium Orange
Cadmium Red Deep
Cadmium Red Light
Cadmium Red Medium
Cadmium Red Scarlet
Cadmium Yellow Deep
Cadmium Yellow Lemon
Cadmium Yellow Light
Cadmium Yellow Medium
Cerulean Blue Green
Cerulean Blue Genuine
Chinese White
Chromium Oxide Green
Cobalt Violet
Cobalt Violet Deep
Cobalt Turquoise
Manganese Blue Mix
Manganese Violet
Naples Yellow
Naples Yellow Deep
Nickel Titan Yellow
Viridian Green

Sennelier Aquarelle Extra-Fine Watercolors
Cadmium Green
Cadmium Lemon Yellow
Cadmium Red Light
Cadmium Red Orange
Cadmium Red Purple
Cadmium Yellow Deep
Cadmium Yellow Light
Cadmium Yellow Orange

Lascaux Aquacryl Watercolors
Material Safety Data Sheet only states under Hazardous Components:
2*Amino
2*Methylpropanol
Percentage 1-5%
Classification R52/53 Xi; R 36/39
AND
Not a hazardous substance or preparation according to EC-directives 67/548/EEC or 99/45/EC

Schmincke Horadam Aquarell Watercolors
Brilliant Yellow Dark
Cadmium Orange Deep
Cadmium Orange Light
Cadmium Orange
Cadmium Red Deep
Cadmium Red Light
Cadmium Red Middle
Cadmium Red Orange
Cadmium Yellow Deep
Cadmium Yellow Lemon
Cadmium Yellow Light
Cadmium Yellow Middle
Chrome Yellow Lemon (no lead)
Chrome Yellow Light (no lead)
Cobalt Blue Deep
Cobalt Cerulean
Cobalt Geen Dark
Cobalt Green Pure
Cobalt Geen Turquoise
Cobalt Turquoise
Green Yellow
Naples Yellow
Sap Green
Translucent Yellow

M Graham Watercolors
Cadmium Orange
Cadmium Red
Cadmium Red Light
Cadmium Yellow
Camium Yellow Light
Cerulean Blue
Cobalt Blue

Maimeri Blu
Site does not list which tubes contain hazardous materials. On their website you can click on each color to see which pigments each paint contains.
Their statement:
"Greater caution must be exercised when using products marked with the symbol shown in the catalogue and on the label, which indicates the presence of a harmful ingredient according to EEC manufactured materials directive CE88/379/CEE.
All colours and auxiliary products have been formulated according to the most recent EU directives for health risk prevention, and have been subjected to toxicological analysis by the Duke University Medical Centre in order to obtain the label of approval for the US market on the basis of ASTM D - 4236 standards."
Their MSDS report can be seen here.

Old Holland Classic Watercolors
Cadmium Green Deep
Cadmium Green Light
Cadmium Orange
Cadmium Red Deep
Cadmium Red Light
Cadmium Red Medium
Cadmium Red Purple
Cadmium Red Scarlet
Cadmium Yellow Deep
Cadmium Yellow Extra Deep
Cadmium Yellow Lemon
Cadmium Yellow Light
Cadmium Yellow Medium
Cadmium Yellow Orange
Cinnabar Green Light Extra

Pebeo Fragonard Watercolors
Cobalt Blue
Cobalt Violet
Dark Cadmium Yellow
Cadmium Yellow Lemon
Light Cadmium Green
Light Cadmium Yellow
Orange Cadmium Yellow
Red Cadmium

Prismacolor Premium Watercolor
Entire line has Cautionary Labeling Seal!

Rembrandt Watercolors
Cadmium Orange
Cadmium Red Deep
Cadmium Red light
Cadmium Yellow Deep
Cadmium Yellow Lemon
Cadmium Yellow Light
Cadmium Yellow Medium
Cerulan Blue
Cobalt Blue
Hooker Green Deep
Sepia
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____________________________________________
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***"Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. And dance like no one is watching." – Anonymous!*** http://www.lauradicus.com

Last edited by Laura D : 05-18-2007 at 10:01 PM.
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Old 05-19-2007, 02:18 AM
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Kate Mc Kate Mc is offline
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Re: Paint toxicity report

Laura, this was a lot of work for you--thanks for doing it!

The only thing that struck me here is that I have read in a posting from M. Graham that in their paints, cadmiums and other heavy metals are used in a form that is not bio-available--that is, it's just passed through the body and not taken up to do damage. I'm trying to remember where exactly I saw that, but I'm having a "senior moment".

As I look at this list, there are only two pigments that I use regularly. I was surprised to see that New Gamboge is listed as toxic--it doesn't have a health warning on the tube! I know that the true Gamboge is very toxic, though. The other one is Manganese. I have a large stash from the last batch of real Manganese Blue that was made, and I use it often. I find that the pigment settles quickly in my water container, and I usually just pour the water off and wipe it with a paper towel. I think I'll think more carefully about that in the future...


Thanks again for doing all this work for us!




Kate
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Old 05-19-2007, 04:41 AM
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Laura D Laura D is offline
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Re: Paint toxicity report

You're welcome Kate. I was surprised about WN's New Gamboge too. It contains Nickel Dioxide (PY153). I think that is the same pigment that puts Naples Yellow on the toxic list. As to M Graham's paints... this information was from their MSDS* required by law and didn't mention anything about the toxic materials being unavailable to the human body. Do you know where I might find that info?

Another thing to keep in mind is the body's inability to process certain elements, such as lead. It just sits there and accumulates past a point that health can be maintained. One of the statements I did read about the heavy metals is that as mined elements we have not physiologically evolved to process them. Makes you think huh?

If you want to look at the MSDS of any of the paints you can go to Dick Blick's watercolor paints page, browse to the manufacturer's page and click the page icon to the far right of the color in the chart. That will pull up the MSDS provided to the vendor.



As far as I can tell Winsor Newton is the only company to issue a separate MSDS for each color. Everyone else seems to list each color number under each toxic material that is contained in those numbers. (Did that make sense?)

*Material Safety Data Sheet
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Old 05-19-2007, 01:04 PM
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rcollege rcollege is offline
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Re: Paint toxicity report

Thanks Lauren...
you have me researching the toxic issues again.

Many of the cadmiums now are less bio- available...but eating the paints can cause (if not will) the sulfide to separate from the cadmium...or selenium (which replaces the cadmiums in the best brands)...and then the result could be hydrogen sulfide...nice and toxic...the same stuff found in rotting eggs and other rotting substances.

I'll find a list provided by St. James university showing possble effects as well.
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Old 05-24-2007, 05:11 PM
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Yorky Yorky is online now
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Re: Paint toxicity report

Terrific resarch Laura, I'll link this thread in the Handbook.

Doug
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Old 05-27-2007, 12:53 AM
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Laura D Laura D is offline
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Re: Paint toxicity report

Thank you Doug! Dear hubby is a reporter and it's rubbing off on me. Next thing you know he'll be drawing and painting!

The report is not complete by any means. I will add any new information as I come across it and invite others to do so as well.
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Old 05-28-2007, 03:17 PM
Neeman Neeman is offline
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Re: Paint toxicity report

For England

W/N Artist Watercolor Safety Data sheets
http://www.winsornewton.com/pdfs/00079.pdf

Cotman Safety Data Sheets
http://www.winsornewton.com/pdfs/00080.pdf


For USA

W/N Artist Watercolor Safety Data sheets
http://www.winsornewton.com/pdfs/AWCALL.pdf

Cotman Safety Data Sheets
http://www.winsornewton.com/pdfs/CWCALL.pdf


And remember we are dealing with very small quanties of chemicals, which are not free, they are in solution.
And disposal instructions is for industrial waste.

Last edited by Neeman : 05-28-2007 at 03:29 PM.
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Old 05-28-2007, 06:39 PM
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Laura D Laura D is offline
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Re: Paint toxicity report

Thanks Neeman!

The Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are also all linked to every color swatch at Dick Blick's website... easy peasy if you have more than one brand of paint - or only want the info on one color.
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Old 02-16-2016, 04:16 PM
CarolinaPal CarolinaPal is offline
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Re: Paint toxicity report

I found this and thought it was worth bringing back up. Not enough is said about the toxicity of paint and that should change so that people can make safer and healthier choices. I didn't know how dangerous some of these materials were until a few months ago, and that was only because I was trying to pick out single pigments that had good lightfast ratings. I had to click on the item number of each color to find its pigment number, and that's when I discovered each color choice had a little data sheet along with it that not only gave its pigment(s), but also the properties, toxicity and history of the pigment, along with a few other things.

Toxicity . . . that was unexpected, and it gave me a real pause because that is not something talked about. Pick up practically any art book teaching painting or associated mediums and you will find there is no hesitation there for the authors to list the colors they use - often including cobalts and cadmiums - yet never a warning to the potential risks associated with those colors. And, those aren't the only unsafe pigments, just the main ones. I hope that changes someday and people are warned in advance of the unsafe pigments and, hopefully, steered toward pigments that are safer for their health.

Prior to dabbling in pastels a few years back, I was a bit sad that I didn't have much background in painting since my main tools were charcoal pencils. Now, I am grateful that I didn't spend that time painting or I could have further damaged my health unknowingly because there are a lot of beautiful pigments I would have bought and painted with unsafely. However, now that I know, I see those colors quite differently - and the way I should have seen them from the beginning. For example, I would really love a cobalt blue for the color and lift-ability, but now I know that it's a toxic pigment and I should first try to find a good work around first in hopes of avoiding it entirely. If I can't entirely eliminate the worst pigments, hopefully, I will now be wise enough to use them sparingly and with caution.

I also do not believe in dumping any of these diluted pigments from my paint water down the drain, be they the worst or the not quite so bad. I think that is something for everyone to consider because I doubt most of us personally have a filtering system fine enough to remove the dangerous particles from our dump water, and therefore prevent them from flowing onward to our municipal water systems. And, even though it may be filtered through a city water system, whatever I dump will be pumped right back to me and those I love. Can I really be so sure that all the bad stuff is removed before it comes pouring back out my tap? If Flint, MI has taught me anything, I can't be sure. Therefore, I try to be respectful of our precious water and protective toward any who might end up drinking it.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 02-16-2016, 04:24 PM
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Laura D Laura D is offline
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Re: Paint toxicity report

This is pretty much what the whole thread is about. One thing I do want to point out is that the pigments you love in paint are also used to create the colors in dry media as well. So those cobalt, cadmiums, chromium oxides etc. color of pastels are also loaded with toxic materials.

If you do use these materials you can do it responsibly. With watercolor the best thing to do is to let the rinse water evaporate and take the dry material to the local dump's toxic materials area for proper disposal. Just make sure this evaporating water isn't available to pets or kids, or even some adults!
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Old 02-16-2016, 05:23 PM
CarolinaPal CarolinaPal is offline
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Re: Paint toxicity report

Hi Laura,

9 years later and you are still watching this thread. How cool is that?

I think your post here is awesome, and it or something like it, should have a sticky at the top. It amazes me that all these toxic supplies are sold - everywhere - with no warning to the consumer. I'd hate to think how many children have been given dangerous pigments with which to draw and paint. I know most children's supplies are nontoxic, but it would be very easy for an adult to buy them higher grade paints thinking that they are better because they are more vibrant - and not realizing that they are giving the child something dangerous because they don't have a clue themselves. The differentiation between student grade and artist grade is not noted as being about safety and toxicity, but about the artist grade being of higher pigment loads and more lightfast and vibrant. There are almost no warnings, nothing is ever said about the dangers. It is probably because of the fear of lost sales, and that is just shameful.

As for your way of handling the dump water, would you recommend that for all pigments? I don't have cobalts, cadmiums, manganese, or black, and rarely use white, so I've been soaking out my dump water with old paper towels and then putting the damp towels into a 1 gallon ziplock bag inside a small trash bag (so it doesn't leak on the floor). When that is full, I take it out to the trash. This way, almost all of the paint water goes into the trash instead of down the drain. Do you think that is okay for nontoxic paints? If I were to buy any toxic paints, I could then use your tip for disposing of that paint residue. However, if it is better to evaporate all of it and then take it to the toxic materials disposal site at the dump, then I will do that. I've done that before for old household cleaners, and I felt much better about that than being lazy and ditching them in the trash.

As for my pastels, fortunately/unfortunately, I didn't have much chance to use them. They are dusty - pigmented dust. My husband built this house with the intentions of reselling it, so I didn't want to risk somehow staining something from the dust. That actually working in my favor because I have no doubt many of my pastels are cadmiums or cobalts. I also don't have labels on them, so I doubt there is any way of knowing for certain now which are safe and which are not. Doesn't matter much now, though, I won't be able to use them unless we move. However, I have to have an art outlets, so just don't tell him what might happen if I drop a phthalo pigment. Shhhh!
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Old 04-04-2016, 06:57 PM
boefje boefje is offline
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Re: Paint toxicity report

What are the chances of inhaling when using watercolor paint from tubes or pans? To me there doesnt seem to be any dust released into the air when you dont mix your own pigments into paint?
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