Art Hazard Videos

Understanding Toxic Exposures – A quick, broad overview of toxicology: dose and response, routes of exposure, and putting the risks into perspective.

Avoiding Toxic Products – How can you know whether a product is toxic? What to look for on labels, logos like AP and Proposition 65, and how to label a container.

Toxic Metals in Art Materials – An overview of metals with serious health concerns that are found in some art products, often as pigments. These include antimony, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, lead, manganese, mercury, and nickel.

Toxic Acids – The very hazardous hydrofluoric acid is used for glass etching and nitric acid for etching zinc plates (which breaks down into poisonous nitrogen dioxide gas).

Toxic Solvents – Solvents can be harmful by inhalation or skin contact, as well as being flammable. While less toxic doesn’t mean non-toxic, this video highlights some of the most hazardous solvents, such as lacquer thinner and methylene chloride, and some alternatives. Then learn about toxic solvents found in adhesives like the combination of acetone and hexane.

Other Chemical Hazards – Besides toxicity, there are physical hazards like corrosivity, flammability and combustibility, and oxidation. Learn how to find out whether a chemical has these hazardous properties. 

Ventilation – If you can’t avoid working with toxic stuff or find less hazardous stuff to work with, then move the toxic vapor or dusts away from you. Learn what kinds of art-related products to look out for and how to provide “local exhaust air flow.” Then learn about personal protective equipment (PPE), like an N95 mask or a half-mask respirator, that is used to block materials from contacting you or filtering the air before it enters your lungs.

Toxic Solvents in Painting and Pastels – Hazards and recommendations for a variety of two-dimensional art products in spray, tube, and dry forms. This includes identifying hazardous solvents in spray adhesives, setting up proper ventilation, and using paint-on rather than aerosol solvents.

Art Gallery Chemicals and Hazards – Toxic metals and other chemicals can be found in paints, pastels, and other art products. Learn what to look for on the product label to identify toxic ingredients and alternatives, and how to protect against dust inhalation. 

Toxic Compounds in Printmaking – Best practices for printmaking, including looking for hazards on ink container labels, storing flammable solvents in flammable storage cabinets with legible labels and intact containers, and considering safety during the copper plate etching process.

Chemical Hazards in Ceramics – How to identify whether glazes contain toxic materials, how to avoid inhaling crystalline silica in clay dust, and how to safely handle glazes that contain heavy metals or find less toxic alternatives. Also covers local exhaust ventilation for working with toxic dust such as metal-containing powdered glazes.

Jewelry Cleaner and Solvents – How to look for safer alternative cleaners such as detergents rather than caustic hydroxides or hazardous solvents, including how to find and read a safety data sheet (SDS) for concerns.

Jewely-making Hazards: Disposal – Process to help limit, properly dispose of, store, and transport hazardous waste, containers, and supplies used. Contact your local hazardous waste management program for more information.

Jewelry: Protection from Corrosives – Discusses proper protective equipment (PPE) and safety equipment (like an eyewash and local ventilation) to keep your skin, eyes, and lungs safe from corrosives.

Jewelry: Protection from Etchants and Pickles – How to safely work with chemicals used in copper etching, silver etching, pickling, and scale removal.

Jewelry-making Hazards: Patinas – How to safely work with, or find safer alternatives to, chemicals used for patinas. Hazardous acids and sealers are covered. 

Jewelry-making Hazards: Soldering and Brazing – Focuses on considerations of the hazardous metal smoke or fluoride compounds emitted during soldering. Safety concerns during deburring, polishing, and buffing compounds are also covered. Good ventilation is important.

Jewelry-making Hazards: Storage – How to store chemicals properly and dispose of what you no longer need. Covers: common chemicals that are incompatible, not storing for too long, avoiding use of flammables near electronic devices, storing chemicals upright, and labeling with name and hazards.