Health Hazard Assessment in
School Arts and Crafts

Unlike the cautious attitude exercised toward generic chemicals, casual behavior is often observed toward the same chemicals once they are recognized as a "common daily item." 

Students and instructors of arts and crafts classes are often unaware of the potential risks from exposure to some of the arts and crafts materials they use, due to either the false security of a "common daily item" or the lack of specific knowledge of the hazardous ingredients in those products.  This unawareness of potential health hazards could lead to improper handling of these materials and result in unnecessary health risks. 

A three-year study of college arts and crafts students indicates a high incidence of allergic reactions among students for exposure of less than 70 hours within a period of 7 weeks.  A self-evaluation method has been developed to identify and minimize these health hazards associated with arts and crafts classes.  This checklist of 15 pertinent parameters covers identifiable hazardous areas and situations in arts and crafts classrooms.  Record keeping and promotion of student awareness are also addressed, so that instructors and students in an arts and crafts class can more readily recognize hazards and act to prevent them.


P. C. Lu, Volume 11, No. 1, pp 12-17: J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol. 1992.

Art Hazard News, Volume 16, No. 4, 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.