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Old 27-10-09, 07:44 PM
muller
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Default Safety with powdered pigments

Even before reading Ms. Kelly's pertinent discussion of pigment safety, safety has been a concern of mine. I have been an oil painter for some years and have become fond of various cadmiums, among other pigments.

Do members typically wear dust masks while mixing-up pigment pastes? What sorts of dust masks are effective at keeping dangerous pigments out of the respiratory system? I already wear rubber gloves when I paint.

Thank you very much,

Muller, a new soon-to-be egg tempera painter.
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Old 29-10-09, 11:39 AM
dbclemons dbclemons is offline
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I use particulate sanding masks, N95 class. They should be found in most hardware stores, <$2 each. The ones I have now are from 3M, model #8511, which is comfortable enough to wear for long periods.
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Old 29-10-09, 11:54 AM
muller
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Default Thank you very much

I'll get one of these today! My first pigments should arrive tomorrow.
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Old 29-10-09, 09:46 PM
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mona mona is offline
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Default Safety with powdered pigments

A great question. David may know of something new that I'm not aware of, but according to NIOSH, most sanding masks don't have adequate coverage to filter out the super fine size of pigment particles (in other words, they may say 'NIOSH approved' but it's for sand, plaster, etc., which are coarser particles). And of course, the risk is dual---both the toxicity of certain pigments and also just the respiratory hazard of general dust inhalation with non-toxic pigment.

The only mask I recommend for use with powder pigments, and also pastels, is the one that health and safety expert Monona Rossol recommended to me. It is a 3M NIOSH-approved particulate mask which fits over nose and mouth and has two replaceable pink particulate filters #2091, NIOSH P100. It also has adjustable straps, allowing an air seal to be achieved, which is also important. I'll take a picture of this mask for you and post it later tonite, and it can be ordered online (will look up the details).

Mona
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Old 30-10-09, 03:11 AM
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mona mona is offline
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Default Safety with powdered pigments

I promised to post a picture of the NIOSH safety mask I use, and I just realized I don't know if I can insert my own jpg here, so I'll give you some links instead to a photo of the mask (the filter # itself shown on the mask is not the right one for this, so the second link below shows the correct pink filter 2091):

http://www.amazon.com/3M-P100-Higher.../dp/B00063ZMEU

AND, the particulate filter that should be used with the 3M 'half mask' as it is called (these just attach with a twist onto the mask):

http://www.restockit.com/NIOSH-Appro...ci_sku=MMM2091

You will know it is time to change the filter when it gets hard to breathe. Not the most comfortable mask, but it's so important to be safe.

Mona
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Old 30-10-09, 01:40 PM
dbclemons dbclemons is offline
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Both the "N" and "P" series of masks have particulate protection down to .3 micons which should be fine for most pigments. The following number represents the percentage of tested efficiency, so for the N95 it's 95%, the P100 is (near) 100% (there are N100 also.) The main difference between the two is that the N cannot be used for oil-bourne particle protection. There's another series called the "R" which can be used in either situation.

I used to work in a print warehouse where all the workers used the P series due to the inks. Personally, I feel the P100 would be more than necessary, but go with what makes you feel comfortable. An even more important rule is to handle the pigments carefully and create as little exposure as possible.

Edit: one other thing, the P series are designed for longer use periods, but it's not really measured by "when it becomes hard to breathe." I think it's about 100 hours or so, but should be on the filter label. The N series is only for about 8 hours use. Basically, if your working in a spray or gaseous environment then use the P, dry pigments are safe with the N and happen to be less expensive. If you'd like better protection in the N series use the N100.

Last edited by dbclemons; 30-10-09 at 02:08 PM.
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Old 30-10-09, 10:20 PM
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mona mona is offline
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Default Saftey with powdered pigments

David, if it's in the spirit of changing filters more often, I agree it's always wise. With the breathing issue (sometimes sooner than 100 hours) I find that I get too tired and dizzy if I don't pay attention to that. It's also an easier way to remember it's time to change filters if you forget to track your hours of use.

Got the advice about the P100 from calling a person in the NIOSH offices last year, since periodically I like to check out the latest information, improvements, etc. He seemed to insist that this was the only filter he could recommend, but it sounds like you have scoped out the reasons for having confidence in your filter too.

When I first got a mask like this in the 1990's there were no smaller sized masks for women, because they were only used for industrial purposes.
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Old 31-10-09, 02:42 PM
dbclemons dbclemons is offline
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My job at that print factory was purchasing supplies, so being aware of the safety information was part of that.

For NIOSH ratings, the letter designation on the masks pertains to whether or not there are oil-bourne particles involved, like sprays or laquers in the air. "N" means not resistant to oil, "R" is resistant, "P" is oil proof. N masks are to be used only in dry environments, R or P can be used in either oil or dry environments. You pay for those features, so R or P masks are more expensive, but that doesn't mean N are poor quality.

All three types protect against the same size particles. The number that follows them is related to their performance efficiency in dust concentration. 95, 99, and 100 percent designations. If you work in a factory or perhaps classroom situation where there's clouds of dust in the air, then get the higher number. For an artist sitting alone in a studio the 95 will be fine (in my opinion,) but the cost is not much different between 95-100. Buy what you feel comfortable with.

NIOSH site info on masks:
http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/topic...t/default.html
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