All paints are chemicals and should be treated with caution. Some chemicals are worse than others, but before discussing specific items, there are some general principles to be aware of.

Firstly, there is a difference between an "acute" health hazard and a "chronic" health hazard. The point at which overexposure occurs determines whether a material is an acute or chronic hazard. An acute hazard is immediate, a chronic hazard is over a period of time. Most artist paints are chronic hazards and if precautions are taken, i.e. using proper ventilation and wearing gloves and a mask, especially with dry pigments, then overexposure will not occur. If you are pregnant, be sure to be extra careful.

Below are five recommendations to greatly minimize risks associated with artist's materials.

    1) Use good ventilation, preferably a fan pulling air outward close to your table, particularly when working with dry pigments. (You should invest in a good respirator!) Keep your studio windows open when you can.

    2) Try to live and work in different places. If your studio is at home, do not sleep in the same room/area as drying paint.

    3) Wear gloves. If you don't, be sure to thoroughly wash you hands before eating or touching your mouth.

    4) Don't smoke or light matches or lighters around solvent-based paint or dry pigments. Have a fire extinguisher handy.

    5) If you accidentally splash your eye, wash it under running water for 20 minutes and seek medical attention.

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