Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Is there an amount of time spent in a pottery studio that is not a cause for concern in terms of silica dust exposure or is even a small amount unsafe? 

 

Are the disposable NIOSH approved dust masks effective to address this? Do others wear dust masks when spending a few hours a week in the studio?

 

Thank you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A typical pottery studio is not a silica dust health hazard site all the time.

 

Silica dust is controlled by wet moping floors, sponging clean the tabletops, washing tools.

There are times when silica dust is airborne but that is mostly if you are mixing dry clay or sanding or mixing glazes.

 

So if the studio floors and tables are clean and you are not doing anything that generates dust, you are fine.

 

Some people with health or breathing concerns for themselves or their families install air cleaners to make double sure.

 

You have to buy the proper breathing masks for safety . . I think there have been several threads on this topic so you should be able to easily search it on this forum.

Pres likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wear a dust mask for certain tasks: mixing glazes, buffing greenware with a scotchbrite pad, and sweeping the floor. Otherwise I don't. I try to keep my tables and floors clean, so I'm not kicking up dust with every move. I spend 30-40 hours a week in my studio. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I attended a Monona Rossol lecture once (she's an industrial hygenist that focuses on the arts), and she called any disposable mask that you can get at the hardware store "a false sense of security."

The reusable ones with cartridges rated N99.98 or higher are what you want when you're mixing glazes and kicking up dust.

I do all wet cleanup, and don't generally sand because my studio is in my house and I have kids. I only wear my respirator while glaze mixing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your replies.

 

I feel that my throat is dry and my eyes are also somewhat irritated after spending some time in the studio - although this may also be seasonal allergies which makes it confusing.

 

I would probably feel more at ease with a mask...hard to know how necessary it is but the studio is used by many members and of course there is dust.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lots of people experience respiratory irritation from the moulds that grow in clay, so it could indeed be an allergy thing. And clay can be drying to the throat as well as the skin because of its absorbency. The clay particles that are actually harmful, and that will cause long-term issues, are the ones that are too small to get caught in a paper dust mask. You'll still be breathing them all in if you choose to wear one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

what you would want to wear when necessary is a respirator.  look for old posts about them.  joseph f found a great one and shared the info with us.  i bought one and love it.  i do not have a problem because i work alone and keep my studios clean.  i once tried to share a studio in brooklyn and had to cancel because the floor had 2 inches of dust on it always.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

what you would want to wear when necessary is a respirator.  look for old posts about them.  joseph f found a great one and shared the info with us.  i bought one and love it.  i do not have a problem because i work alone and keep my studios clean.  i once tried to share a studio in brooklyn and had to cancel because the floor had 2 inches of dust on it always.

 

Can you please share the respirator that you recommend? Would this protect from the smallest particles that Callie refers to?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dina,

 

You want a half-face respirator whose frame FITS your face, and equipped with HEPA (also known as P-100) filters.  That is the mask that is rated for toxic mists and dusts including micro-crystalline respirable silica. 

 

There are numerous suppliers that have them.  Most ceramic supply houses have them.

 

See here:  http://community.ceramicartsdaily.org/topic/5731-technical-forum-f-a-q-listing-frequently-asked-questions/

 

best,

 

................john

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your replies.

 

I feel that my throat is dry and my eyes are also somewhat irritated after spending some time in the studio - although this may also be seasonal allergies which makes it confusing.

 

I would probably feel more at ease with a mask...hard to know how necessary it is but the studio is used by many members and of course there is dust.

 

I am just going to say this, I don't know anything about your studio, but when I didn't have a kiln vent installed and I would walk out into my garage the problems you described is the type of feeling I got from glaze kiln fumes. I have had a pretty messy studio before with dust and I never had irritated eyes from clay dust. I have however had that after a kiln firing before I had a vent system installed.

 

I am wondering if your studio has a kiln vent in it now and if it is actually working properly? Just a thought from what you described.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm guessing here, but you might need an organic filter instead of a particle filter if you are feeling dizzy from the gases released during a firing.

 

Particle filters are for dust.

Organic filters are for vapors.

 

I think 3M has a filter that does both.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×