Sunday, February 22, 2015

Hazards in Art Rooms and Studios

I want to focus on the danger of solvents used to clean up brushes, skin and work areas of oil paint.  Turpentine, White spirits and even Odorless Solvents are very dangerous.  Here is the scientific reasoning for this:  "Anything that dries (most notably paint), or anything you use to "cut" the paint does so by off-gassing some sort of solvent. For water colours, this will mostly be water (harmless) but some of the paint will also come off as a vapor. For oils, the reason they take so long to dry is that the molecules are generally much larger. The general rule for things you ingest into your body is that like compounds stay together. So anything that is water soluble (water colours) will likely be flushed from your system quite quickly. Oils on the other hand, will tend to go into the fat stored in your body. It  gets locked up there, but if you were to lose weight, it can cause all of these toxins to become released at once. The other problem with oil based products is that over time you can build up more and more in your fat stores, eventually getting to toxic levels. I have no idea about the metals that may be present  in both types of paints, but from what I have read they tend to get locked up in fat stores as well.
Generally everything that is in the air will eventually get stuck onto the surface of something (wall, dust, etc). If it is some place like the floor, then it can repeatedly get kicked up (and thus inhaled). As to ventllation, this will help, but would need to be (1) very close to where you are working (2) blowing material outside. If you simply have a fan, you don't really get rid of anything, just mix it up better, and in some cases it can make things worse."
Other ways to clean, are to use Turpenoid Natural, Baby Oil and Murphy's Oil Wood Cleaner.  None of these products are toxic and a good alternative.

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