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W HAT CAN I DO ?

RESOURCES
To keep yourself and others SAFE and
reduce exposure to heavy metals, follow
these precautions and safety actions:
Use water-based products over solvent-

containing ones
Buy premixed paints
Avoid working with powered paints
Choose brushing and dipping tech-

niques over spray methods


Plan studio ventilation with adequate air

flow
Avoid dusty procedures
Avoid skin contact with paints by wear-

Best Practices for Fine Art Painting Studios

POISON IN
THE
PAINT?

http://www.narrabay.com/Documents/PDFs
/FineArtBMP.pdf
EPA
http://www.epa.gov/air/community/guide/
paint_manufacturing_oo_sheet.pdf
OSHA
http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/metalsheavy/ind
ex.html

ing gloves
Wear protective clothing and goggles if

needed
Avoid eating, smoking, or drinking

Pollution in People
http://www.pollutioninpeople.org/toxics/me
tals

around work area


Dispose of waste paints and products in

accordance with health and safety regulations

True Art
http://www.trueart.info/paints.htm

The Truth About Heavy


Metals in Paint
And What YOU Can Do to
Help and Stay Safe

WHATS THE

ISSUE?

Heavy metals are


harmful to
persons exposed at
higher than normal levels.They are
especially harmful to young children. Exposure to lower amounts of
heavy metals are okay for the body
to handle, but increased amounts
may lead to serious health effects.
INHALATION is the most hazardous way to contract heavy metal
poisoning.
Anyone may be harmed by interior
and exterior house paints, chipping
or sanding paints, working with
dusty chalks or pastels, airbrushing
or spraying paints, or heating paints
until fumes are produced. Acrylic,
latex, epoxy, and even some oil
paints are known to contain heavy
metals. For the reasons listed above,
a special warning to ARTISTS, as
many supplies used for artwork may
contain dangerous, harmful substances.

W HY

ARE

HEAVY METALS

HISTORY OF

DANGEROUS?
Heavy metals are dangerous because they bioaccumulate in our bodies. Bioaccumulation occurs
when substances are taken in and accumulated in
the body quicker than they are removed.

HEAVY METALS IN PAINT INCLUDE:


Mercury
Cadmium
Lead
Arsenic
Zinc

EXPOSURE TO HEAVY METALS CAN


LEAD TO*:
behavioral problems, high blood pressure, anemia,
kidney damage, memory and learning difficulties,
miscarriage, decreased sperm production, reduced IQ, blindness and deafness, brain damage,
digestive problems, lack of coordination, mental
retardation, breathing problems, decreased intelligence, known human carcinogen (lung and skin
cancer), nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting
*some occur only at high exposure levels

A VERY . V ERY QUICK

PAINT

Heavy metals have been used in


paint since the Middle Ages. For
example, tempera, a popular form
of paint used in the Byzantine
world and the Middle Ages in
Europe, contained mercury ore as
one of its components.
The tradition of using heavy metals
in paints continues to this day.
Paints, pigments, colorants, and
glazes may contain toxic metals.
Oil, watercolor, and acrylic paints
may contain heavy metals such as
cadmium, lead,
and
chromium.