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Glaze Safety Questions

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I'm not sure if this is the right spot to post this question as I'm new to the site. My brother really enjoys ceramics and takes ceramic classes at a local community college. He started working on ceramics at home. We don’t have a lot of extra room at our house so he uses the kitchen as his workspace. He stopped working with wet clay and sanding his pieces at home because I was concerned about the clay dust that was being generated. I’m still worried about having open glaze cans, glaze covered paint brushes, unfired glazed ceramic pieces, and glaze stains on the counter of the table I eat at. He uses Amaco and Potter's Choice glazes. He doesn’t do a very good job cleaning up despite my requests. I’m also worried about dust coming from bisque ware or from his clothes that are covered in dried slip from class. I was hoping you would be able to give me some input on if any of these things are hazardous to my health. I would really appreciate your opinion.


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Get him onto the carport , table from second hand store etc 

Clothes  rinsed off in yard 

Cheap sacrifice for his and your health.

Clay etc down household drains disastrous outcomes.

That's the tip of the iceberg.

A few posters re silicosis of lungs in his bedroom might help....

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At colleges and universities and art centres, they generally all have a ban on eating and drinking in the studio. It really is poor hygeine to do otherwise.  Ask him what the studio rules are. Why should you be less rigorous at home? I am on record in this forum for washing my bisque and waxing feet in my kitchen because of the proximity to the kiln, and because I have no running water in my studio.  However any other tasks get performed in the studio or outside to prevent cross contamination with food.

You aren't likely to poison yourself acutely this week from raw glazes, unless you go about it deliberately. However long term, low level exposure from a number of things in the glazes, particularly colourants and some fluxes are linked to various health problems. The binders and suspenders in the bottled glazes aren't meant to be eaten, either. Get him off your kitchen table. That's just not cool. 

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Good for your brother!!! The clay bug has bit him.  

Even better he is working with his hands.  So important these days. I call the clay bug therapy. It helps you process so much from all that’s going on in the world.  I see it with my community class students - young and old.

So I would like to encourage your brother to continue.  There is a lot of value to what he does.  

However I am with the others too. You still have to encourage good habits.  

So the first thing - out of the kitchen.  Is there really no better room.  He can do things safely at home. 

I used to too in my bedroom. I layed  down duck cloth below the table and on the table that I washed regularly.  

Out of anything that you have described the safest method is wet clay. Ingesting clay is not dangerous. I am sure just naturally we ingested much more clay before prewashed bags of veggies.  Breathing dry dust is not. However he is not in super production mode so breathing is not that bad either. People in dry areas are breathing dust a lot.  

Glaze is a more unsafe situation. So out of kitchen is important.  But glazing elsewhere is doable too.

I hope you find a happy medium and can figure out a way to letting your brother continue with his making at home.  There really isn’t much time in school to make.  

In an apt. Lay down a piece of duck cloth.  Then a piece of board.  On the table.  On the floor put down paint drop cloth.  Or if hard wood floor make sure he wipes with wet sponge/cloth. Not a broom.  Then work on top of that.  No dry sanding. He can burnish instead. 

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