I could go into some detail.... I teach ceramic toxicology as part of a college level ceramic materials course. But I won't do that here. It'd take a very long discussion/disertation to cover the subject adequately.
Short answer....... be careful....and not only with the fumes from the kiln. And understand what fumes ARE. Very fine particulate....that settles on everything like what we usually refer to as "dust". REALLY fine dust. And your clay body now has manganese in it's dust also.
Awareness is the key.
Please get a copy of the book "Artist Beware" by Dr. Michael McCann. Lyons Press ISBN:978-1592285921
Also contact Mononna Rossol at A.C.T.S. in NYC. http://www.artscraft...atersafety.org/
Get her small book: The Artist's Complete Health & Safety Guide, 3rd Edition.
And also contact NCECA for Monona's "Keeping Claywork Safe and Legal" book.
Then get the Material Safety Data Sheet for manganese dioxide from your ceramics supplier. To help you understand it, do a web search for "reading an MSDS".
That stuff should give you some good grounding on this kind of thing.
Moderators: You might want to split this last pair of postings into a new thread....... bit of a change of subject.
Thanks for this. I have contacted Monona, and am waiting for a reply, but in the meantime maybe you can help - I don't use glaze, and what I am trying to achieve is a rich, charcoal surface colour (along the lines of certain of Magdalene Odundo's pieces, as an example). I am experimenting with manganese on terracotta, but it is all very much a work in progress.
I am concerned about the health hazards here, especially because I have a little boy (5 years) who loves to work with the clay and hang around the kiln, and also I have started giving a weekly class to children. Obviously they don't have any access to the oxides, but if the danger is substantial I would rather not use them at all. Do you perhaps know of an alternative to manganese that I can use to achieve black, something not toxic in any way? My clay supplier suggested charcoal, which I have yet to try.
Thanks again John,