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Painting & Drawing Techniques

ID Painting/Drawing Tech Ingestion Haz Inhalation Haz Skin Contact Haz Other Hazards Precautions
1 WATER-BASED PAINTS


May contain preservatives, such as formaldehyde Don't eat, drink, smoke in studio; wash hands, including under fingernails (good hygiene); switch to formaldehyde-free painting medium; avoid inhaling pigment powder; use least toxic preservatives possible
2 Acrylic Paints (Water-Emulsion)


May contain ammonia which may cause eye, nose, throat irritation, especially if large amounts are used;may contain preservatives, such as formaldehyde Good hygiene; switch to formaldehyde-free painting medium; avoid inhaling pigment powder; use least toxic preservatives possible; use window exhaust fan
3 Watercolors and Gouache
Moderately toxic Slightly toxic Gum arabic and gum tragacanth cause skin allergies; gum arabic can cause asthma; may contain preservatives, such as formaldehyde Good hygiene; switch to formaldehyde-free painting medium; avoid inhaling pigment powder; use least toxic preservatives possible
4 Casein Paints
Strong irritant Strong irritant Ammonia also causes irritation to eyes Good hygiene; switch to formaldehyde-free painting medium; avoid inhaling pigment powder; use least toxic preservatives possible; use exhaust fan; wear gloves; goggles; apron; use eyewash fountain
5 Tempera
Highly toxic Highly toxic Hazards in pigments & preservatives; tetrachloroethane highly toxic; more toxic than carbon tetrachloride, causing severe liver damage Good hygiene; DO NOT USE tetrachloroethane
6 Fresco Paints Limewater moderately toxic Powdered lime highly corrosive Limewater moderately toxic Powdered lime is highly corrosive by eye contact Good hygiene; switch to formaldehyde-free painting medium; avoid inhaling pigment powder; use least toxic preservatives possible; wear gloves and goggles when handling lime; use eyewash fountain
7 Latex Paints Slightly toxic if glycols are present
Possibly toxic if the paint contains glycol ethers May contain glycols, mercury Don't use paints with mercury preservatives
8 NON-WATER BASED PAINTS




9 Oil Paints Pigment Poisoning Turpentine/mineral spirits moderately to seriously toxic Pigment poisoning; turpentine absorbed through skin Turpentine, mineral spirits moderately toxic by all routes of entry; they're irritants and narcotics; wood/steam-distilled turpentine more toxic than gum turpentine; turpentine washes very hazardous Good hygiene; replace turpentine with turpenoid/odorless mineral spirits; set up window exhaust fan; don't do turpentine wash; wear respirator w/organic vapor cartridges; neoprene gloves; reuse solvent; remove paint from hands with baby or vegetable oil
10 Alkyd and Other Solvent-Based Paints
Toxic
Pigment hazards; solvent-based paints more hazardous than oil paints; much more solvent exposure; toluene/xylene much more toxic than paints with mineral spirits; flammable Use powerful exhaust fan; wear NIOSH-approved respirator with organic vapor cartridges; eliminate ignition sources; use neoprene gloves; replace turpentine with turpenoid/odorless mineral spirits
11 Encaustic
Respiratory irritation from decomposition of waxes
Pigment hazard; fire hazard from heating wax Good hygiene; always cover containers of dry pigments; melt wax in double boiler or on hot plate; don't use flame; use lowest temperature feasible to minimize vaporization of wax
12 Epoxy Paints
Hardeners moderately toxic/ solvents in epoxy systems highly toxic Hardeners moderately toxic Pigment hazards; epoxy hardeners can cause large numbers of skin and respiratory allergies; solvents in epoxy systems can include aromatic hydrocarbons, which can cause irritation, narcosis, and liver damage Good hygiene; wear neoprene gloves and have very good ventilation; use an organic vapor respirator when working indoors
13 VARNISHES, LACQUERS, MEDIUMS Turpentine; methyl alcohol; ethyl alcohol; methylene chloride moderately toxic Turpentine; methyl alcohol moderately toxic; ethyl alcohol slightly toxic; toluene, xylene; methylene chloride highly toxic Turpentine; methyl alcohol moderately toxic; ethyl alcohol slightly toxic; toluene, xylene; methylene chloride moderately toxic Turpentine irritant/narcotic, can cause kidney damage/allergies; methyl alcohol affects nervous system/liver/kidneys; toluene, xylene absorbed through skin; n-hexane highly toxic/flammable/cause nerve damage; methylene chloride probable carcinogen Wear gloves; have good local exhaust ventilation; wear NIOSH-approved organic vapor respirator; take precautions against fire; place solvent-soaked rags in waste disposal can, & empty daily; wash hands with baby/vegetable oil; avoid methylene chloride
14 PRESERVATIVES Hazard for children Not sufficient hazard Not sufficient hazard Use of pure preservatives to add to art materials can be a hazard to the artist, depending on the preservative With children, use only materials & preservatives approved for children; use least toxic preservatives available; use gloves, ventilation, personal protective equipment
15 SPRAY PAINTING
Highly hazardous Accidental injection of spray into fingers from high-pressure spray guns Spraying of solvent-containing paints/aerosol spray cans with flammable propellants is fire hazard; spray guns/airbrushes/aerosol spray cans can produce fine particulate mist that remains in air for up to 2 hours; can cause headache/nausea/fatigue Use spray booth, exhausted to outside; wear NIOSH-approved respirator, w/toxic dust and mist, or organic vapor cartridges; use exhaust fan; don't spray w/ carcinogenic pigments; eliminate flames; avoid getting fingers in way
16 DRY DRAWING MEDIA




17 Pastels
Dust major hazard; may cause sensitivity in asthmatics; spray fixatives hazardous
Pastels can contain toxic pigments, including chrome yellow, cadmium, and manganese; poorly labeled; blowing off excess pastel dust increases amount of dust inhalation; n-hexane can cause nerve damage Avoid pigments containing lead chromate & other toxic pigments; don't blow off excess dust; tap drawing; wear NIOSH-approved toxic dust respirator; don't hand rub drawing; wet mop; switch to less dusty pastels; use exhaust fan and spray outside
18 Pencils, Graphite, Charcoal, and Chalks
Hazards with graphite, charcoal dust; solvent-based drawing gums, spray fixatives hazardous Solvent-based drawing gums hazardous Inhalation of large amounts of graphite over a period of years can cause a benign pneumoconiosis; blowing off excess charcoal dust is major cause of inhalation of charcoal dust; dustless chalks have binders added Avoid toxic pigments; don't blow off excess dust; tap drawing; wear NIOSH-approved toxic dust respirator; don't hand rub drawing; wet mop; use water-based drawing gums instead of solvent-based types
19 Oil Pastels, Oil Sticks, and Crayons Toxic pigments, such as lead chromate, hazardous Solvents hazardous Pigments are irritants; solvents hazardous Industrial crayons may have toxic pigments such as lead chromate; children's varieties should have only nontoxic pigments and extenders; oil pastels and sticks may also have toxic pigments Avoid crayons, oil pastels, or oil sticks containing lead chromate or other extremely toxic pigments; use window exhaust fan if you use solvents
20 LIQUID DRAWING MEDIA




21 Pen and Ink
Dyes and inks irritating; solvent-based inks containing toluene are highly toxic Solvent-based inks highly toxic if absorbed Water-based drawing inks normally not considered hazardous, although little is known about the hazards of the dyes used in some of these inks; solvent-based inks hazardous Do not airbrush solvent-based drawing inks, obtain MSDS's for the inks
22 Felt-Tip Markers
Xylene hazardous; ethyl and propyl alcohol less toxic, but irritating; methyl isobutyl ketone strongly irritating
Water-based felt-tip markers are normally not considered hazardous, although little is known about the dyes used; xylene-containing markers may cause dizziness, headaches, nausea if they're used without adequate ventilation Use water-based, or alcohol-based markers; use window exhaust fan when using large numbers of permanent markers, or when using them for extended periods of time