Sunday, March 09, 2008

Toxic Oil Paints

Recently I have been wearing a glove on my left hand to keep from getting paint on me or I should say, less paint on me, when painting. I'm pretty sloppy and it's not unusual for me to get paint all over me especially my left hand that I hold my paint rag in and use to clean my brushes and pallet knife.
Even taking breaks, I get pretty fatigued after 6-8 hrs painting. I was painting in Maine with Grant Hughs who was wearing a light plastic glove, like you would find with someone handling food, and asked why he wore a glove. He said a painter he had worked with found that after protecting himself from getting paint on him he had more energy. Now I know why.
Oil paints are highly toxic with heavy metals. Some are even listed as radio active such as Strontium Yellow. Most of these paints have been taken off the market and the formulas changed but I have to think it is still an issue.
Myself, I am susceptible to toxic metals as I was "leaded" while welding cadmium and zinc coated pipes when working construction. It doesn't take much and I get serious flu like symptoms.
Since I have started to protect my skin I not only have more energy but I paint better because I keep my pallet clean, something I learned from Richard Schmidt dvd, "White Pine".
Here is an article that goes with the link regarding a list of paints that are toxic. Do what you will with the info. Me I have to carry on so will keep painting. Very disappointing that all the cadmiums are on the list.
Here is a source against toxicity;
and here is an explanation of the subject for artists by Gamblin;


Blogger Diana Moses Botkin said...

Gregg, I wonder if your perceived reaction to paint on your skin is due to something else in the paint besides the pigments.

The skin is actually an effective barrier for the pigment molecules, which are larger than skin pores. Of course if an artist eats or smokes without removing pigment from the skin, then it can get into the body. Pigments should not be ingested, as I'm sure you know.

Solvents, however, can be absorbed into the skin.

I believe artists can use toxic pigments responsibly. The cadmiums, lead, and others have unique and useful properties for art painting.

5:09 PM  

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