Linda wrote such a helpful post on safety over on Orchid that I asked her permission to reprint it here:
To all of those concerned with working in a healthy work environment, Here are a few suggestions, or recommendations: Review the Orchid archives for the following links :
(which was an updated version of a tech paper I did for a SNAG conference in the late 70’s) There has ALWAYS been a healthier/”greener” / smarter way to work.
Also, any substance you order will have an MSDS, ORDER IT from your supplier when you order the substance (flux, metal, oxidizers, patinas, polishing materials, etc) OR look up the MSDS on line for the things you already have in your studio. READ the MSDS and take the appropriate precautions.
When you use a substance that has a warning /caution/danger on the label. READ IT, and take the appropriate precautions.
See the article I wrote for Lapidary Journal in 1999 Weiss, Linda:
Studio Safety, 257, 5-99 Introduction to Goldsmithing Health Hazards
Since then Sarah Sanford has written an excellent article – there is also a great publication put out by Charles Lewton Brain – you can probably access all of these throught the Orchid Archives.
I highly recommend the Quattro dust and fume collection systems, and their self contained polishing /dust collection unit.
Usual disclaimer: I do not have an affiliation with them, just a happy, healthy customer This equipment is not inexpensive, but they become cost effective once you realize how much healthier your work environment is and after getting the returns from a few batches of filters, etc. that you send to the refiner. They also are portable and do not require installation of ductwork.
The majority of 20th-21st century published technique books and “how to” articles you read have info about health and safety.
Unfortunately, not every learning environment includes healthy, safe studio practices in their syllabi or curriculum.
Sending these recommendations with good wishes for all of you to work healthy, and happy, with creativity, productivity and prosperity!