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View Poll Results: Our pastels contain dangerous substances. How does this affect you?
I don't use pastels containing chromium, cobalt, manganese, etc. 9 6.52%
I use the pastels, but take very serious precautions: gloves, ventilator, etc. 4 2.90%
I take some reasonable precautions: I don't blow the dust, I work outside, etc. 39 28.26%
I think it's overblown; I just grab the pastels, work bare-handed, etc. 66 47.83%
I eat pastels for lunch. The cobalt is especially tasty. 20 14.49%
Voters: 138. You may not vote on this poll

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  #16   Report Bad Post  
Old 11-18-2008, 03:52 PM
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MarkJBrader MarkJBrader is offline
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Re: POLL: Awareness / Concern about Toxicity

I agree Charlie, it's not the big stuff that falls down, that is a problem.

What we do not know is how much of that very fine secondary dust, that gets suspended in air, is produced. I will have to ask my wife what the pigment was, but apparently there is one used since ancient times (Rome, Egypt) which, just through natural grinding methods, was fine enough to have a lot of particles down into the hundreds of nanometers size. So it doesn't take modern technology to produce it.

In any case, she assured me that for doing pastels in my little room, I should just get an inexpensive air 'purifier' that has a HEPA filter and also an electrostatic filter. Apparently these can be had for thirty bucks or so. So I am going to get one by the end of the month.

Sorry to be a bit strident before. Maybe I overreacted from watching my wife investigate this stuff. Of course she is determined to have no harm come to employees or customers in what she is doing, and is inspired to be exacting and thorough.

Mark
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Old 11-18-2008, 04:45 PM
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Colorix Colorix is offline
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Re: POLL: Awareness / Concern about Toxicity

Mark, excellent 'scoop' on the 'purifier' that fits my present budget, thank you!

And you weren't strident, you gave lots of good info!

Charlie
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Old 11-19-2008, 01:11 AM
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nvcricket nvcricket is offline
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Re: POLL: Awareness / Concern about Toxicity

I'm chiming in....

I worked in the Las Vegas Airport for 5 years. I worked a dayshift one day and there was a mote of sunlight streaming in from a skylight, and you couldn't see through that beam of light as there was so much dust in the air. I was shocked to think I work in that environment a full 1/3 of my day.

Working in an airport we were ever vigilant about bags left unattended, suspicious persons etc. I almost feel as if they should have paid me danger pay for working there. What worried me the most was the anthrax scare as that is a superfine powder that spreads fast. It can get from one concourse to the next in amazingly fast time. I notice the same thing when I am vacuuming. I tend to think the vacuum gobbles up the fat particles and spits out the superfine stuff even with the best filter.

Pastels do create a very fine dust that can stay airborne for a significant time. I was really amazed with the recent thread that Sandy (meowmeow) posted on the very large pastel done by Brenda Ferguson. I followed her WIP and she was smart to use respirator with that large project. She had enough dust on that filter to make two pastel sticks!!! Check it out, almost to the bottom she shows what the filter looked like when she replaced it.
http://www.brendaferguson.com/YHolly...ngorPart1.html

I would hope the low cost hepa/air purifiers work with pastel dust for personal use. If anyone is using one now, I sure would be interested to see a picture of how much dust they wipe off the screen at the end of a day. If there is dust on the cloth, I'm getting one. I don't work with pastels enough to justify investing a couple of thousand dollars in a tried and proven filter.

Carol

Last edited by nvcricket : 11-19-2008 at 01:15 AM.
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Old 11-20-2008, 03:24 PM
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Colorix Colorix is offline
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Re: POLL: Awareness / Concern about Toxicity

Carol, I saw that picture of the filter of her mask, and thought: =:-O

So today, I bought a (hardly) used purifier, with hepa filter, for allergics, for the same cost as one of those really cheap ones. Have not tried it yet, though. It is meant to be placed on the floor, but I think I'll put it on my worktable, closer to where the dust origins.

I'll let you know what it does.

Charlie
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Old 11-23-2008, 04:44 PM
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Petra K Petra K is offline
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Re: POLL: Awareness / Concern about Toxicity

I usually use my pastels outdoors, but I've noticed that when I use them indoors, the next morning I have a slight but persistent cough when I wake up. I tried using surgical masks and didn't like them. I've just ordered one of the following masks from Totobobo
.
http://totobobo.com/blog/?page_id=98



The mask was $19.90 and the filters were 10 for $16 (via Pay Pal). I bought these because people bicycled all over India and China wearing these masks -- if figure they have to be comfortable. You can trim them to the size that fits your face. The mask itself is reusable but you need to insert new filters when needed. I'll let you know how I like them.

Also, I've heard that you shouldn't wash pastel-covered clothing or rags with your other clothes. Any info on that practice?

After the recent fires in the LA area, I'll be happy to have some masks on hand. Here's a couple photos I took the day of the fires -- this was taken 25 miles from where the fires were raging.





I'm going to do a painting of this one.

-- Petra
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Old 12-03-2008, 12:33 PM
Barbara WC Barbara WC is offline
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Re: POLL: Awareness / Concern about Toxicity

Does anyone know if Great Americans contain any heavy metals?

I am just starting to build my collection, and want thinking about trying the GA's as a "softie".

One of my opinions about the toxicity issue is that there are so many available brands without heavy metals, that I'm going to try to build with those first, and then if I find I "need" Unisons or Diane Townsend's, then I'll try them.

I have Rembrandts and a couple of Senneliers and Winsor Newtons which are made without heavy metals and AP non-toxic. Planning on adding some Art Spectrums, Mount Visions and Girault to try them, all don't have heavy metals.

I used to work in a molecular biology laboratory, and was part of a safety team, and so am probably more sensitve to these issues than most. I wear a mask often when painting, and they don't bother me because I wore a mask often in the lab for many years. Airborne dust of any sort can be a lung irritant, and my personal concern about heavy metals is that levels can accumulate over time. Again, since there are so many choices without heavy metals, I'm going to build with those.

On the other hand, there are so many daily exposures we have to toxic chemicals in the environment, most of which don't actually lead to any long term health risks because the levels never reach a high enough level to cause damage, that perhaps my concern with heavy metals is overblown.

Barbara
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Old 12-03-2008, 07:17 PM
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MJGresko MJGresko is offline
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Re: POLL: Awareness / Concern about Toxicity

Holy moly I'm getting freaked out. I never really gave a second thought to pastels being harmful in any way. I wipe my hands constantly with baby wipes while painting and as far as breathing in dust I guess I'm going to keep breathing it in. I have no room for air purifiers and can't see myself working with a mask on.
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Old 03-28-2009, 03:08 PM
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Paula Ford Paula Ford is offline
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Re: POLL: Awareness / Concern about Toxicity

I just purchased the TOTOBOBO Mask. Hoping for a good seal because of the material it's made of. Bought a mask at Lowes the other day and it is just an awful fit. It gaps everywhere so I'm breathing in through the sides and not through the vent in the front.

My husband also bought me an air filter for Christmas that runs when I'm not in my studio.
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Old 03-28-2009, 11:11 PM
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nvcricket nvcricket is offline
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Re: POLL: Awareness / Concern about Toxicity

Paula, I had to trim my totobobo mask to fit me, otherwise it interferes with my vision, more comfy this way. Wow it's cool to learn that Lowes is selling them, I'll have to check it out to see if its the same one I ordered online.

Carol
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Old 03-29-2009, 12:44 AM
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Paula Ford Paula Ford is offline
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Re: POLL: Awareness / Concern about Toxicity

Carol, No, I didn't get it at Lowes. I bought another type of mask at Lowes and it was awful.

How long does a filter usually last, by the way?
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Old 03-29-2009, 05:42 PM
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Maggie P Maggie P is offline
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Re: POLL: Awareness / Concern about Toxicity

Donna, I really appreciated your post and your level-headed analysis. I agree with what you've said, and I have much the same attitude.

I take reasonable care with using pastels. I'm allergic to dust and pollen, so I run a HEPA air filter in the studio and our house has filters built into the heat/air system. I don't wear a mask but I don't blow the pastel, I take it outside to brush off any significant amount. I wipe up the dust frequently with a damp paper towel. I don't eat or drink in the studio. I use Gloves in a Bottle.

I'm careful with oil paints too. I keep my workspace clean and I run an air filter while I'm working. I wear my Gloves in a Bottle. I'm careful with solvents.

But I don't worry. It's just like the rest of my life. I try to eat well, exercise and take care of myself, but not get neurotic about it. Life's too short to worry too much.
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Old 03-31-2009, 06:09 PM
bwjnsn bwjnsn is offline
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Re: POLL: Awareness / Concern about Toxicity

My oil palette contains no toxic or heavy metal pigments, not because I am worried about the health effects for myself because I dont eat the paint or breath it in, but I do wash my brushes in the sink and the stuff ends up SOMEWHERE! (I use walnut oil only, no turps or solvents)
So now I am getting into Pastels I am trying to avoid the "bad" ones where I can. I am not fanatical about it but if I have a choice I get the ones certified non toxic. The Polychromos I use are AP certified and Rembrandts contain no toxic or heavy metals. The Polys have some colors named as cadmium or cobalt etc but I wonder if they really are as some are not as lightfast as these pigments should be (middle cadmium red).
Any toxic pastel sold in California must be labeled as such ( CA label) so I avoid those. I dont lay awake nights worrying about such things, From what I've read it's probaly not a big risk, but just in case... Dont want to find out 10 years from now there IS a problem!!

Brett
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Old 04-01-2009, 08:13 PM
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Lynndidj Lynndidj is offline
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Re: POLL: Awareness / Concern about Toxicity

I am concerned about toxicity. My studio is in our exercise area (large room) and so I am also concerned about the dust spreading. My husband is very supportive and agreed to the purchase of the Artist's Air filtration system. It works wonderfully well - I have even taken it with me on painting trips (a bit cumbersome, I will admit!). There is never any pastel dust around on the exercise equipment or on my counters. This is also helpful since this room is on the second floor of our house, where all the bedrooms are located.

Lynn
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Old 04-17-2009, 09:10 AM
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gingersnap gingersnap is offline
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Re: POLL: Awareness / Concern about Toxicity

hello all,

i worked in a dental office. i have a latex allergy/migraines (why did i pick this profession?) and a former boss had many patients with environmental problems. she bought a hepa filter machine and placed it in my op. what a difference!!!! less odor, headaches etc...i would love to have one for the house since i do not have a room for pastels and have a set up at my kitchen table. i am used to wearing gloves/ mask with my dental hygiene job so i do not mind. i would highly recommend a hepa filtration system for people with health issues or otherwise.

you all have given me something to think about. thanks so much, ginger
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Old 09-13-2009, 05:42 AM
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joolee joolee is offline
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Re: POLL: Awareness / Concern about Toxicity

Oh good heavens - I never gave this a second thought and now I'm worried. I have my table top easel set up on a bit of the kitchen work surface. Its there all the time and I am frequently painting when I am preparing dinner. I don't know what to do now.
Jools

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