Painting and Pastels
Painters and pastel artists may work with hazardous chemical products that can harm their health, such as:
- Turpentine, paint thinner, lacquer thinner, citrus solvent and other toxic and combustible solvents
- Flammable and toxic spray fixatives and adhesives
- Pigment powders and pastel sticks containing these toxic metals:
- Antimony, cadmium, lead and nickel
- Toxic driers in aqua oils and other products
Protecting your skin and eyes
- Wear chemical-resistant gloves when working with solvents, spray fixatives and spray adhesives
- Wear a snug-fitting dust mask or respirator when sanding dry paint from surfaces
Protecting your lungs
- Oil and aqua oil painters should position your palette and easel close to an exhaust fan to carry solvent vapors away.
- Keep containers of solvents and thinners covered when not in use to reduce evaporation.
- Switch to water-based or water-washable materials to reduce toxic solvent vapors.
- Only use aerosol sprays with local exhaust ventilation.
- Protect your lungs.
Use safer choices
- Purchase pigments already mixed in liquid or wax to control dust.
- Choose water-soluble paints.
- When transferring solvents into another container, attach a label with the original product container’s name and warnings, like flammable or toxic,
- Store and use flammable solvents away from sources of heat and electrical outlets.
- Avoid solvents with the words "chloride" or "chloro-" in their names.
- Water-washable oils or light oils (like baby oil or walnut oil) are preferable to solvents.
- Odorless mineral spirits are a safer alternative to toxic turpentine for paint thinning and brush cleaning.
- Apply solvents with a brush, rather than spray-applying.
- Keep containers closed when not in use.
We can help
Safely dispose of painting and pastel wastes
- Empty containers can be disposed in the trash once almost all the materials they held are gone.
- Dispose of partially full containers of aerosols, paints, solvents and adhesives as hazardous waste
- Rags contaminated with oils should be wrung outand then hung to dry. Once dry, dispose in the trash.
- Rags that are slightly contaminated with solvents can be disposed in the trash, once they are dried.
- Collect rags that are visibly wet with flammable solvents in a metal container with a tight-fitting lid and dispose as hazardous waste.
- Brush washing:
- Wipe excess paint from brush.
- Soak the brush vertically in paint thinner or water inside a container.
- Cover with a plastic lid that has slits cut in it that brushes can slide through.
- Settle the pigments.
- Decant the good thinner into a second settling container so it can be used again.
- Pour the pigment sludge into a waste container for eventual disposal.
- How to dispose of your art studio wastes