Outline of Art Safety A-Z:
Hazards and Precautions

THE BASICS OF ART SAFETY

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a comprehensive list of professional recommendations

for safer art practice for artists, art schools,

and studios/workshops; presented

in the form of concise remarks,

medical/toxicological background facts often not known to artists, 

33 useful instructions and resources

what-to-do and what-to-avoid items,

and other key facts based on research

by the Center for Safety in the Arts


              #    H a z a r d s 
              #    P o s s i b l e  C o n s e q u e n c e s  t o  H e a l t h
              #    S u g g e s t e d  S o l u t i o n s    a n d   G o o d  P r a c t i c e
              #    A l t e r n a t i v e s,   a n d   R e m e d i e s

  (use other pages on this resource for further in-depth information)



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#      1.    RISK FACTORS


- Amount of exposure

- Length and frequency of exposure

- Exposure conditions

- Toxicity

- Total Body Burden

- Multiple exposures

- High risk groups


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#      2.   HIGH RISK GROUPS



- Children

- Disabled

- Smokers

- Heavy drinkers

- People taking medications

- Elderly


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#      3.   EXAMPLES OF HIGH RISK DISABILITIES



- Hearing impairment                    

- Epilepsy                            

- Emotional disturbance            

- Physical impairment           

- Asthma and other allergies

- Other health impairments


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#      4.  ROUTES OF ENTRY


- Skin contact and absorption

- Inhalation

- Ingestion

- Injection


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#      5.   TYPES OF DISEASES

- Acute    

- Chronic


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#      6.  SKIN DISEASES


- Irritant dermatitis

- Allergic dermatitis

- Skin cancer


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#      7.    EYE DISEASES


- Conjunctivitis

- Corneal damage

- Cataracts

- Blindness


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#      8.    ACUTE RESPIRATORY DISEASES


- Chemical pneumonia (pulmonary edema)

- Acute bronchitis

- Acute asthma and "hay fever"

- Hypersensitivity pneumonia

- Metal fume fever


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#      9.    CHRONIC RESPIRATORY DISEASES


- Chronic bronchitis and emphysema

- Pulmonary fibrosis: silicosis, asbestosis

- Respiratory cancer


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#      10.    HEART AND CIRCULATORY SYSTEM DISEASES


- Heart muscle damage

- Arrhythmias

- Anemias and bone marrow damage


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#      11.    KIDNEY AND BLADDER DISEASES


- Heat stress

- Chemical damage to kidneys

- Bladder cancer



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    12.    LIVER DISEASES


- Hepatitis

- Liver cancer


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    13.    NERVOUS SYSTEM DISEASES


- Narcosis

- Encephalopathy - brain damage

- Oxygen starvation

- Nervous system and heavy metals

- Peripheral neuropathy and solvents


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    14.    REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM DAMAGE


- Prior to pregnancy - effects on fertility

- During pregnancy   - miscarriages and birth defects

- After pregnancy    - breast-feeding and infants


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    15.    PRECAUTIONS


- Know your materials

- Substitution

- Ventilation

- Storage and Handling  

- Personal Protective Equipment

- Medical check-ups


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    16.   KNOW YOUR MATERIALS


- Labels

- Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs)

- Other references


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    17.    SUBSTITUTION


- Use least toxic chemical or process

- Use water-based instead of solvent-based

- Avoid carcinogens

- Using substitutes


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#     18.    VENTILATION


- What is adequate ventilation?

- Dilution ventilation

- Local exhaust ventilation


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#     19.    LOCAL EXHAUST VENTILATION


- Hoods

- Ducts

- Fans

- Air cleaners


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    20.    RULES FOR GOOD VENTILATION


- Use local exhaust

- Provide make-up air

- Directed flow of air

- Enclose process

- 100% exhaust to outside

- Location of air intakes

- Maintenance


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    21.    STORAGE AND HANDLING


- Safe storage

- Fire prevention

- Handling of chemicals

- Work practices and hygiene

- Housekeeping

- Spill control

- Waste disposal


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    22.    SAFE STORAGE


- Small quantities

- Type and location of containers

- Labels

- Chemical incompatability


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    23.    FIRE PREVENTION


- Sources of ignition

- Flammable storage cabinets

- Safety cans

- Waste disposal cans

- Solvent waste cans


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    24.    FIRE EXTINGUISHERS


- Correct type

- Location

- Training in use


- Fire emergency procedures


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    25.    HANDLING OF CHEMICALS


- Cover containers

- Use glove box

- Transfer powders carefully

- Pour liquids carefully


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    26.    WORK PRACTICES AND HYGIENE


- No smoking, eating or drinking in work area


- Wear separate work clothes

- Eyewash fountains

- Emergency showers

- Wash-up


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    27.    HOUSEKEEPING


- Do not sweep

- Wet mopping

- Vacuum cleaners



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    28.    LARGE SPILLS OF FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS


- Shut off open flames

- Call fire department

- Shut off power from outside

- Open windows

- Evacuate room and building

- Clean up spill with SCBA


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#      29.    WASTE DISPOSAL


- Waste disposal companies

- Do not pour solvents down sink

- Aqueous liquids and sinks

- Other sources of help


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    30.    PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT


- Gloves

- Face and Eye protection

- Hearing protection

- Protective clothing

- Respirators


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    31.    RESPIRATORY EQUIPMENT


- Last resort

- Types of respirators

- NIOSH approval

- Cartridges and filters

- Fit testing

- Limitations

- Cleaning and maintenance

- Medical limitations


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#      32.   MEDICAL CHECKUPS


- What to tell your doctor

- Type of doctor

- Medical referrals


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    33.  MEDICAL TESTS


- Blood lead tests

- Other chemical tests

- Lung function tests and chest x-rays

- Other tests



This article was originally printed for Art Hazard News, © copyright Center for Safety in the Arts. It appears on nontoxicprint courtesy of the Health in the Arts Program, University of Illinois at Chicago, who have curated a collection of these articles from their archive which are still relevant to artists today.