Safety Matters in the Studio

How safe are the art materials you use every day?

The three pictures below, for example, is one MSDS for a tube of Winsor & Newton's Cadmium Orange oil paint:

These MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) are easily available online. Each tube of paint & each art material of any type or brand has its own MSDS.

Personally, I refuse to use all paints that contain lead and the MSDS tells me this.

A good place to get instant (free) access to information would be a big online art supplier like Dick Blick. Also, any manufacturer will supply these data sheets on request.

Paint thinners can be reused. But when the solvent will no longer clear upon standing, it is exhausted and you will need to dispose of it.

Used thinners are a toxic waste.

Call your local recycling center for disposal instructions. I keep my spent thinners in a storage can and take it to the dump once a year on "Toxic Waste Day." Because it is a bio-hazard, I do NOT dump it into the soil.

To protect our precious water supply, no artist's materials, including acrylics, oil/water media and watercolors, should be washed down the drain - ever.


Susan said...

Thank you Karin for posting this story! It is so important that artists know how to dispose of their water and paint thinners. They also need to know how to properly dispose of paper towels with oil paint on them because of the lead content. Any suggestions?

Over at "RaisinToast"

My Painting Studio said...

I do keep my paper towels in a safety can and then burn them in the fireplace.

However, I do NOT ever - ever - use lead paint.

I know lead white paints nicely, but if allowed to accumulate in the soft tissues of the body, i.e., the brain, it is lethal. Lead paint can even be absorbed thru the don't have to eat it to get hurt by it.

If you use lead paint, you'll need to take those paper towels to the dump and dispose of them as "toxic waste."

Gamblin makes a nice "Flake White Replacement" that is lead free....why not try that and make life easier for yourself?

If you spread out your paper towels and allow them to dry (without toxic paints) you can dispose of them in your trash.

It is when the oily paint is still wet that they become a fire hazard and must be stored in a safety can.

Did you know that a wadded up oily rag or paper towel can combust within minutes? It can be quick!