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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. 7 5.60%
I use the pastels, but take very serious precautions: gloves, ventilator, etc. 4 3.20%
I take some reasonable precautions: I don't blow the dust, I work outside, etc. 38 30.40%
I think it's overblown; I just grab the pastels, work bare-handed, etc. 58 46.40%
I eat pastels for lunch. The cobalt is especially tasty. 18 14.40%
Voters: 125. You may not vote on this poll

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  #61   Report Bad Post  
Old 12-05-2009, 02:47 PM
bwjnsn bwjnsn is offline
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Re: POLL: Awareness / Concern about Toxicity

Schminke does not use Cadmium, but does have some colors that contain Cobalt or nickle- both known to cause cancer.

some manufacturers claim to use a form of cadmium that is less soluble, and supposedly therefore safer.

There seem to be several different types of cadmium which complicates the issue (Cadmium seleno-sulfide coprecipated with barium sulfate,
Cadmium Zinc Sulfide copreciated with Barium Sulfate, etc).

The CA65 labeling is very strict- required for ANY amount of toxic/hazardous materials.

the CL label is less strict- safe if normal precautions are taken.

AP label means safe and nontoxic.

Too much of a headache for me! I will just stick to the Ploychromos, Rembrandts, and the safe Schminckes (only 19 sticks are CA65 labeled according to Blick). Thats what I happen to like anyway.
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Old 12-09-2009, 03:48 PM
Phil Coleman Phil Coleman is offline
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Re: POLL: Awareness / Concern about Toxicity

I have contacted PALS (The Patient advisory Liaison service) here in the UK, They are prepared to act on information from patients and those with general queries, they should be able to contact the toxicology department direct since it is attached to the hospital where they are based

We are trying to find out what information is documented to the various compounds which are used in artist pigments. There does not appear to be an email address to the toxicology unit so we are hoping you can help.

Many of the compounds include heavy metal and their salts, such as Cadmium, Nickel, Cobalt, Chromium etc.. Some of these are known to have carcinogenic effects and we are a group of artists presently engaged in a debate to establish just what dangers we may encounter.

Many us are not professional artists but belong to a web site and we have a common interest in pastel painting. Using this medium we are likely to inhale the dusts given off by these pastels and we believe we are one group who could be most at risk!

We thought the toxicology unit would have detailed records outlining the dangers from such substances and was hoping they could possibly help us with this. We would appreciate your help on this matter.

Last edited by Phil Coleman : 12-09-2009 at 04:27 PM.
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:14 PM
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Colorix Colorix is offline
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Re: POLL: Awareness / Concern about Toxicity

I've come up with an irritating fact... due to political sensitivity of the Cadmium issue, I'm not allowed to quote the source of some info that was given to me when I asked about it as representative of the Pastel Guild of Europe. The focus of my question was if Cads enter the body through the skin, and what happens if/when breathed in. I can say what I learned, but only as my own words. Gee, great, as it is the source that is important....

Cadmium pigments for artists are the same no matter what medium. Extremely insoluble, as modern methods of manufacturing make them so, and those methods have been in place for decades.

(In other words, Phil, be wary about the vintage set.)

The EU has decreed that artist's Cadmium pigments are not toxic or hazardous, neither to people nor to the environment. It is in one of the resolutions. Cad pigments made in Europe have 10 000 times *lower* extractability than the EU level of 0,01% (.01%), often even as low as being non-measurable with today's instruments (limit of instrument being 0,0005% (.0005%)).

The particle size of Cadmium pigments are so large that they would not hover in the air, unless pastel manufacturers grind them smaller. No gloves or barrier creme needed, as they do not cross the barrier of the skin. Smart to use a plaster if you have a wound or cut on a finger. Soap and water washes them off, and as it is no danger to nature, it is fine to wash it down the drain.

The above are my words, and no source, except the EU resolution, given.

Thats for the pure pigments. Next thing is to ask manufacturers of pastels if they alter the pigment in any way. Handmade ones usually only get water and possibly a binder added, so they should be unaltered.

One remaining concern would be if the automated methods heat the sticks, to dry them, to a temperature that would destabilise the cadmium salts, and I think that would be a temp over 300 C, which probably would roast the sticks anyway. But, it remains to be investigated.

The Swedish Chemical Inspection Bureau basically says that it is known that Cad salts are extremely stable and not hazardous or toxic, but as we want to cover our political behinds, we say we don't know how they will be classified in the future. (My very edited version of a lengthy document with 'legalese' and 'politicalese'.) They also stated they'd taken the decisive action of walking around to the three or four artist's supply stores and told them that even though they are not required to label Cad pigments as dangerous, they should be aware that there is political concern. Gee, that was productive!

OK, this info from reliable sources make me feel better about it, and happy to use the Cads.

Charlie
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Old 12-09-2009, 11:41 PM
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DAK723 DAK723 is offline
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Re: POLL: Awareness / Concern about Toxicity

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Coleman
Then why are people buying air purifiers since we are working within a very small margin of what can be considered a dangerously high contamination level?

Does Senneliers , Giraults or Schmincke contain any heavy metals?

For those who have purchased air purifiers, are they not in effect acknowledging the fact that there could be a potential health hazard?

Speaking strictly for myself, I wear a mask due to the dust causing respiratory irritation. I have an air purifier for the same reason. When I don't wear a mask, the dust makes me cough. Many pastelists have reported frequent coughs, bronchitis, or other respiratory problems due to the dust itself. Some have no problems, but I would definitely recommend a mask for this reason alone.

Again, I have no medical expertise, just repeating unsubstantiated information passed along from other artists, but I believe almost all the warnings are referencing pigments in their raw form. If you have raw pigments you need to take greater precautions. If you have pigments bound in a binder, then the dangers are very low (or non-existent) and you need to breath in enormous amounts of dust to reach dangerous levels.

According to their literature, the Giraults currently contain no heavy metals. The Senneliers have just a few, the Schminkes have more. The Dick Blick website shows the health labeling for each pastel they sell in open stock. The Mt. Vision pastels also contain no heavy metals, according to their maker, who I emailed a while back regarding this issue.

Don
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Old 12-10-2009, 03:56 AM
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robertsloan2 robertsloan2 is offline
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Re: POLL: Awareness / Concern about Toxicity

Oh that is neat about the Mount Visions.

Charlie, thanks for that EU opinion on cadmiums. Makes me feel a lot better about my not doing the mask and so on bit -- I don't use dusty dusty stuff daily so I'm not all that worried about fluorescent-lung in general from lots of particles, half the time I'm using Pans or hard sticks and working in ways that don't make much dust.

I don't eat the stuff but I also just use a wet towel to clean up and stay clean while working -- and I'm often more careful about not getting it in my cat's fur because I know anything that gets in his fur, he will eat it.
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Old 12-10-2009, 08:22 AM
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Colorix Colorix is offline
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Re: POLL: Awareness / Concern about Toxicity

Rob, if Ari licks Cad dust off his fur, 75% of the .0001 or lower parts of soluble cad will pass right through him, so he'd probably be fine. It is smart to keep him off that diet, though. The actual dangers I've found all have to do with prolonged exposure to huge amounts, during manufacturing, mostly from heated gases of cads.

Don, it is a bit like stone masons, or miners, who get lungs damaged by the mechanical presence of dust breathed in and lodged in the alveoles (I hope they're called that in English, the tiny pinprick 'sacks' in the lungs where the actual exchange of gases is made).

Allow me to make a "statement". I'm researching this because there is a scare propaganda going on. I'm fully aware of the fact that compounds believed to be safe and stable may not be, like amalgam. But here it is a question of taking an element, cadmium, combining it with others to make it stable, and then also treating it to make it more safe. A hundred years ago the cad pigments were not safe at all (soluble, containing other nasties like arsenic), and it seems like the warnings that were highly appropriate then are not valid for modern cad pigments. After all, modern cad pigments are used for colouring food-containers, precisely because they are considered so chemically stable. I've talked to several experts, who all don't dare to be quoted *for political reasons*. They basically say: "we know it is one of the most stable pigments, but because people are scared of it, the politicians want to forbid it, and scientific truth has nothing to do with it. Don't quote me, I don't want to lose my job." Which I respect, as they have families to feed.

I'm seeking the truth, not opinions, not politics, not scares.

Charlie
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Old 12-13-2009, 03:46 AM
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GhettoDaveyHavok GhettoDaveyHavok is offline
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Re: POLL: Awareness / Concern about Toxicity

What's wrong with the toxic pastels?

Unison especially has a lot of delicious pigments. You can go on Dickblick.com to see the pigments. The ones with the Prop 65 and CL labels are even the most delicious ones. They're especially really healthy for you. It's good for your heart. Good for your soul.

When dust drops down on my easel forming a line of dust, that's when I take out a $1,000,000 bill (not a $1 bill. $1,000,000 smells better), roll it, and snort the dust into my nose with that bill.

I also feed it to the hungry little children in the world. They need their daily vitamin cobalt into their system.

The only side affects is respiratory problems, cancer, and so on. No biggy.

OK, I'll get serious now.

I haven't dealt with pigments that were considered totally toxic. I've dealt with gray Sennelier, 30 colors of Rembrandt, Design NuPastels, and some student chalk pastels from school.

However, I don't worry too much if I was to have a toxic pigment. The only thing I would do is for one, work in the guest house only. If weather is fine, I'll work outside, because sometimes I blow dust off my paper. Also, I am not for sure if the dust can absorb through your fingers, but since I do have broken skin a majority of the time (don't ask me why), I would probably wear gloves. However, I prefer finger blending. Yet, I can find anther finger to use. I don't know. I haven't dealt with very harmful pigments no more harmful than my current pastels. Though I do have a reason to stay away from the ones that have those Prop 65 labels and all. A couple times, being a dummy I am, I see gray Sennleier soft pastel on my fingers and I happen to had the habit to clean my fingers off with my own mouth (the dust didn't taste that great either). So, if anyone is to be me and don't keep in mind what you have on your fingers and use very harmful pigments, you're screwed.
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Old 12-17-2009, 09:31 PM
CalArtist CalArtist is offline
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Re: POLL: Awareness / Concern about Toxicity

I work in pastels mostly on sanded paper. I do about 1/2 the work with very soft pastels. Sometimes these create tiny, linear piles of pastel, especially at the end of some strokes. Blowing on them is the only way I've found of getting rid of them, besides blending them into the paper...and I know I shouldn't be blowing on them.

Does anyone have a decent strategy of removing dust, either left by the pastels, or dust from removing a passage from the painting, other than blowing on them, or hitting them from behind? I'd consider using an air canister, like a lens cleaner at a distance, but these all have a tiny bit of oil in the air to help with dispersion.

Any suggestions?

Signed 'Dusty' in the Bay Area
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Old 12-17-2009, 09:48 PM
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timonsloane timonsloane is offline
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Re: POLL: Awareness / Concern about Toxicity

You might try flicking the surface with your finger. This makes the loose pastel drop down rather than shooting it off into the air as is the case with blowing. A quick flick very rarely leaves a mark on the surface - and when it does it is easily fixed.
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Old 12-17-2009, 10:00 PM
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Paula Ford Paula Ford is offline
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Re: POLL: Awareness / Concern about Toxicity

Quote:
Originally Posted by CalArtist
I work in pastels mostly on sanded paper. I do about 1/2 the work with very soft pastels. Sometimes these create tiny, linear piles of pastel, especially at the end of some strokes. Blowing on them is the only way I've found of getting rid of them, besides blending them into the paper...and I know I shouldn't be blowing on them.

Does anyone have a decent strategy of removing dust, either left by the pastels, or dust from removing a passage from the painting, other than blowing on them, or hitting them from behind? I'd consider using an air canister, like a lens cleaner at a distance, but these all have a tiny bit of oil in the air to help with dispersion.

Any suggestions?

Signed 'Dusty' in the Bay Area

I'm assuming you don't work on an easel. In that case, you could just pick up the piece and gently tap it into a trash can. PLEASE don't blow. It is getting into your lungs!
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Old 12-18-2009, 07:52 AM
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Colorix Colorix is offline
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Re: POLL: Awareness / Concern about Toxicity

Dusty, those lines gather even on a forward tilted easel, usually towards the end of a painting when there is lots of dust, and the stick acts like a snow-plow. I knock on the painting by that line, and if that doesn't help, I take a fingernail to it, or a painting knife, and scratch very gently.

Re Cads: I'm saying we should know facts, and not go on rumors, or labels based not on fact but on people's fears.

Charlie
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Old 12-18-2009, 04:42 PM
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robertsloan2 robertsloan2 is offline
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Re: POLL: Awareness / Concern about Toxicity

I started knocking rather than blowing sometime last year and found it worked better. I'm less likely to blow the wrong color of dust into another area when I do that. Also less likely to get it all over myself and my cat.
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