IDCeramics TechInhalation HazardIngestion HazardSkin Contact HazardOther HazardsPrecautions
1 MIXING DRY CLAY Highly hazardous. Inhalation of large amounts of powdered clay, China clay, asbestos, sand, perlite, grog, and vermiculite can cause silicosis. No significant hazard, except Asbestos No significant hazard Amputation hazard from clay mixer, back problems from heavy lifting. Buy premixed clay; use local exhaust ventilation, respirator; wet mop/vacuum; wear special clothes (coveralls); don't use talcs w/asbestos; use machine guards
2 HANDLING WET CLAY Molds, powders, dust hazard
Drying of hands Wheel work: Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, back problems, kickwheel can cut. Wear gloves if necessary; use skin cream; rest wrists; use standup wheel/adjust height; be careful with moving parts; wet mop clay; don't pulverize dry clay; finish green ware while damp; wear respirator
3 GLAZES Lead highly toxic, barium, lithium fluxes highly toxic Lead highly toxic
Lead-safe doesn't mean lead-free, copper w/lead can cause lead poisoning Use lead-free glazes; if you must use lead glazes, don't make vessels that can be used for eating or drinking; drill a hole in the pot; if you use lead, make sure the pottery states so
4 Ceramic Colorants Antimony, barium, cobalt, lead, lithium, manganese, vanadium high
Antimony, arsenic, chromium, vanadium, nickel moderately toxic Arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, chromium VI, nickel, uranium carcinogenic Don't use known carcinogens; avoid probable carcinogens
5 Preparing Glazes Toxic, Silica highly haz., dust haz. Toxic Soda ash, potassium carbonate, feldspars, fluorspar irritating
Use ventilation; wear respirator; clean up all spills; wear gloves; wet mop spilled glaze materials
6 Applying Glaze Spraying hazard, solvent-based glazes hazard. Glaze materials hazardous Dipping, pouring, brushing are haz. w/skin irritants Solvent-based glazes flammable Spray in spray booth exhausted to outside & explosion proof; wear respirator; use exhaust fan; use good hygiene; wear gloves; wear special clothes; collect & combine scrap glazes to use again
7 KILN FIRING Chlorine, fluorine, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone highly toxic

Fluorine can cause bone & teeth problems; kilns cause burns, infrared radiation Lead and other metal fumes vaporize; carbon monoxide can be produced from kilns; ventilate kilns directly outside; keep kilns in separate room; wear infrared goggles or hand-held welding shields (1.7-3.0 shade); avoid lead
8 Electric Kilns Toxic gases

Heat can cause fires, even 1 ft. away; kiln doesn't shut down by itself Use ventilation; surround kiln w/ fireproof curtains; test commercial canopy hoods; use direct exhaust system for octagonal kilns; don't store combustible materials nearby; place kiln away from floor,wall; have 2 shutoffs
9 Fuel-Fired Kilns Carbon Monoxide haz.

Heat generated; natural gas & propane haz.; kiln chimneys not high enough Put carbon monoxide alarm in area where indoor kilns are; gas lines should be installed by professionals, and have regulators; shut off gas and power if gas leak suspected; have bigger canopy hoods; make chimneys high enough
10 Salt Glazing Hydrogen chloride gas highly toxic

Hydrochloric acid can corrode metal fittings Use sodium carbonate instead of sodium chloride; sodium chloride should only be used outside, with canopy hood and high chimney; check for corrosion of metal
11 Raku Firing Smoke & carbon monoxide haz.

Gas kiln hazards; preservatives in wood highly toxic Only do Raku outside, but not near air intakes of buildings or open windows; don't use materials treated w/preservatives or pesticides

13 Lead

Those that don't pass leaching test must specify "Not for Food Use-May Poison Food. For Decorative Purposes Only;" drill hole in pottery; don't use lead glazes; you can test for lead leaching using home kits
14 Other Leachable Materials
Lead, barium, cadmium haz.

Use only glazes w/calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium fluxes, and minimize amounts. of toxic metal colorants; test finished ware for leaching of toxic metals; be careful w/cadmium and barium