Art School Pays $260,000
in Lawsuit

The Art Institute of Philadelphia, an art school specializing in commercial art and fashion, recently settled a lawsuit by paying $260,000 to a former student who had developed nerve damage while attending the school.  The student alleged that her illness was caused by hexane and other solvents in rubber cement and rubber cement thinner, spray adhesives, and spray fixatives, and that the school had not informed her and other students of the hazards, nor had proper ventilation.

An on-site inspection of the school by Dr. Michael McCann of the CSA confirmed the lack of ventilation and other precautions.  After the settlement was announced, the student's attorney, Thomas L. Gowen, said that this was "a very difficult case and that the plaintiff had severe damage from solvents due to poor ventilation."  He also stated that "hopefully this will encourage other art schools to look at their ventilation and prevent further illnesses of this type."

Art Hazard News, Volume 16,  No. 5, 1993

This article was originally printed for Art Hazard News, © copyright Center for Safety in the Arts 1993. 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.