Encaustic artists may work with hazardous chemical products that can harm their health, such as pigment powders containing toxic metals such as antimony, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, lead, and nickel.

Protect Your Skin and Eyes

  • Wear chemical-resistant gloves when working with toxic pigment powders.
  • Wear goggles to protect your eyes when pouring dry pigment powders.

Protect Your Lungs

  • Wear a snug-fitting dust mask or respirator when pouring dry pigment powders on wax.
  • Keep wax below 200 degrees Fahrenheit to limit wax fumes and position your work area near an exhaust fan to carry wax fumes away.

Use Safer Practices and Materials

  • Purchase pigments already mixed in wax to reduce exposure to dust.
  • Keep pigment powder containers closed when not in use.
  • Visit the Art Supplies page to learn about safety warnings on product labels.

Safely Dispose of Encaustic Wastes

  • Empty containers and unpigmented wax can be reused or disposed in the trash.
  • Dispose of partially full containers of pigment powders as hazardous waste.
  • Encaustic waste in solid wax that does not contain arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead or silver can be disposed as solid waste.
  • Encaustic waste that contains any of the metals listed above should be disposed as hazardous waste.
  • Dispose of dry pigment powder as hazardous waste.
  • Whenever you create art, make sure the waste you generate is properly disposed. Learn more about waste disposal for artists.

Video: Toxic Metals in Art Materials