Art Hazards

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Buying Safer Art Supplies and Safer Art Supply Storage

Protect yourself by buying and using safer versions of products you use to make art.

Look for these words and symbols on product labels.

Higher Hazard

Hazard Signal Words:

Avoid these labels

danger warning
Avoid use or use a safer alternative, if possible. Otherwise, protect yourself from exposure through ventilation or protective apparel.

Safer Choices

Look for these labels

no signal words

No art product can be called completely safe. Even with safer alternatives, take reasonable precautions to reduce exposure: wash hands after using, don't eat around the products, don't breathe the products. Download and print safer art supplies

Many of these symbols are only found on products sold for use by artists. Products designed for other purposes, but used by artists may not have these symbols. Always read warning statements on products before purchasing, and follow directions for safe use.

Golden Paints provides additional information on art product labels. If children in grade six and under are using art products, they should only use products in the Safer Alternative row.

Protect yourself by using safer storage methods

Properly label your secondary containers

  • When you put art chemical products into another container, label it with the name of the product and its primary hazard (e.g., toxic, flammable, corrosive)
  • The primary hazard will be listed on the product’s label

Separate incompatible art chemicals in storage

  • Store and use acids and etchants away from flammable liquids, ammonia, caustic lye, sodium hydroxide (found in drain cleaners), bleach and slaked lime
  • Store and use flammable solvents separately away from acids, patinas, etchants, sources of heat and electrical outlets.

Properly store chemical products when not in use

  • Keep containers tightly closed to reduce indoor air pollution.
    • Store chemicals in containers with screw-top lids
    • Toxic and flammable solvent vapors escape from open containers.
    • Toxic dusts can spill from poorly sealed containers.
    • Corrosive acid vapors can escape from open containers
  • Acid storage
    • Store acids in glass or plastic containers with a plastic lid
    • Store acids in a separate wood or plastic cabinet with a locking door
    • Place containers of acids in a plastic containment tub inside the cabinet that can capture leaks or spills
    • Label the cabinet with the words “Corrosive Acids Only”
  • Flammable liquid storage
    • Keep lids tightly closed on all flammable liquid containers when not in use to reduce exposures and prevent vapors from igniting
    • Store flammable liquids in a separate cabinet with a locking door
    • Place containers of flammable liquids in a plastic containment tub inside the cabinet that can capture leaks or spills
    • Label the cabinet with the words “Flammable Liquids Only”
  • Other hazardous art chemical storage
    • Keep lids tightly closed when not in use
    • Store other hazardous art chemicals in secondary containment tubs to capture spills or leaks

Promptly clean up spills

  • If art products spill, Clean spills immediately
  • This reduces the risk of it spreading, getting on your clothing or creating indoor air pollution

Related materials

Arts & Creative Materials Institute

Arts, Crafts & Theater Safety

Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology – Artist

Connecticut Department of Health - Leaded Ceramic Glazes (PDF)

Guidelines for the Safe Use of Art and Craft Materials

National Library of Medicine - Keeping the Artist Safe: Hazards of Arts and Crafts Materials