Hazardous Materials and Artists

Got this email last week in response to my mention of artists dying of lung cancer in last week’s Art Marketing Action newsletter:

Please follow up on the lung cancer/venilation issue when you get time, I googled for more info but it was overwhelming. . . . I'm an oil painter with a proper vent system, but I'd like to know more.

Well, that wasn’t very nice of me to just throw it out there like that. And, I’m afraid I am no expert on the subject. It just seems like we lost a generation of artists to the disease–probably because they were so active before proper ventilation procedures were known. (Disclaimer again: I’m not trying to start rumors. I just want everyone out there to be careful.)

So, the onus is on you to know your materials. I mean really know them. Become a student of them and keep up with the latest information.

The best information on my bookshelf is in Daniel Grant’s book The Business of Being an Artist (Allworth Press). He has an entire chapter called “The Materials Artists Use.” In the bibliography, he lists other books that focus on the subject.

I also found these terrific sites:

The Occupational Health Service Institute’s Health & the Arts Program
Chicago Artists Resource’s Health and The Arts Journals

I hope you’ll share any information you might have. Whatever you do, just don’t be oblivious to what you’re using to create art.

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artist safety, hazardous art materials

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