Toxics in Art and Hobby Supplies
Hazardous art and hobby supplies include solvent-based glues and adhesives, turpentine and other paint thinners, aerosol sprays, craft dyes, solvent-based permanent markers, photography chemicals, certain pigments found in paints, inks, and colored pencils, and materials that contain lead or other heavy metals.
Check out the City of Tucson Health & Safety in the Arts Searchable Database to look up hazards and precautions for materials used in glass art, jewelry making, metalworking, painting, photography, printmaking, and other art techniques.
Children are more susceptible to toxic chemicals than adults. Avoid exposing children to adult art materials which may contain toxic ingredients.
Tips for Protecting Children from Hazardous Art Materials*:
|Adult art materials, which might contain toxic ingredients.||Use only art materials approved for children|
|Powdered materials which could be inhaled or get in the eyes of children. Examples include clay in dry form, powdered paints, glazes, pigments, wheat paste, and aerosols (for example, spray paints, fixatives).||Wet or liquid non-aerosol products. (If dry products are used, they should be mixed while young children are not present.)|
|Solvents and solvent-containing materials. Examples include rubber cement and its thinner, turpentine and other paint thinners, shellac, toluene, solvent-based glues & inks, and permanent felt-tip markers.||Water-based glues, paints, markers.|
|Materials that contain lead or other heavy metals. many paints and pottery glazes, copper enamels, stained glass, certain pastels.||Products that do not contain heavy metals.|
|Cold water dyes or commercial dyes.||Vegetable dyes (coffee, tea, onion skins, spinach, beets).|
|Instant papier-mâché, which may contain asbestos fibers or lead or other metals from pigments in colored printing inks.||Papier-mâché made from black and white newspaper and library or white paste (or flour and water paste).|
|PVC-based modeling clays such as Fimo and Sculpey.||Clays made without PVC and phthalates.|
|Art materials that are sprayed, such as spray paints, spray fixatives, spray adhesives, airbrush paints|
|Donated or found materials, unless the ingredients are known to be safe|
*Recommendations based on the State of California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment and the City of Tucson Health & Safety in the Arts Searchable Database of Health & Safety Information for Artists.
Safer Alternatives and Additional Resources
Washington Toxics Coalition:
City of Tucson Health & Safety in the Arts:
Center for Health, Environment, & Justice:
State of California Office of Environmental Health and Hazard Assessment: