Saturday, September 19, 2009

Art, Health and Irony

Few will argue about the inspirational, educational, social, cultural and other life-enriching aspects of art. However, it's ironic that there's something about the nature of both art and artists that seems to inhibit people from taking a managed, common-sense approach to protecting themselves from the all-too-real toxins found in many artist materials.

I just received a note from a young woman who was diagnosed with heavy metal toxicity from exposure to colorants in oil colors. I am getting more and more of these communications as word about EcoVisual Communications and spreads. Please use these materials responsibly, and store them safely away from children. Review the relevant Materials Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) information available from manufacturers and suppliers. If you work with powders of ANY kind, wear a respirator and use an appropriately scaled ventilation hood. The constituents of ceramic glazes often contain heavy metals and other respiratory irritants and carcinogens. Many inks contain volatile organic compounds that are known respiratory- and neuro-toxins. Few artists take the necessary precautions to ensure their own health. Denial is a powerful defense and lord knows we cannot afford to lose either more artists or the work they could have produced if they were healthier. Please spread the word.