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Radioactive Masons Stain...huh?

radioactive stain uranium

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#1 hershey8

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 09:17 PM

I was just looking at the composition of some of my inherited masons stains. YIPES! If I'm reading the MSDS correctly, some of my stains may have uranium, radium and other scary stuff in them. Are these elements still allowed in modern-day stains? I'm thinking about trashing some of my stain....not sure where. Is anyone using radioactive stains? How safe are they? Why isn't there a radiation symbol on the jar? Do I need a haz-mat suit to continue this "stress-relieving" hobby? Any thoughts?



#2 bciskepottery

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 09:26 PM

You can email the folks at Mason stains and ask them about ingredients and what, if any, concerns you should have in using them or if you need to toss them (and how to do that safely).  They'll need the colors, numbers, etc. so they can check.  How old are they?  Current versions may have different ingredients.  Glow-in-the-dark is in for Halloween!



#3 Pres

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 06:34 AM

Back in the 70's after reading an article about art materials, I got a geiger counter from the science department and used it to check all of the enamels that we had in the Jewelry and Metalcraft studio in the HS. Yup!  There were around ten or twelve of the colors that were radioactive enough to spike high on the meter.  We took them to the science department for disposal as they had procedures for bad materials.  We tried to be very aware of what we were dealing with, but in the 70's not a lot of todays dangers were understood. Old materials pose all sorts of hazards as they could contain chemicals you really don't want to deal with. . .look at removing paint from wood work in an older home-lead.


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#4 hershey8

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 08:56 AM

This morning I contacted a mason stain manufacturer in Liverpool, Ohio. The technical rep put my mind at ease. He said the stains I have are pretty safe, that the compounds are encapsulated and ok to use as long as they are covered with glaze. He said the ones I have are not radioactive. Apparently, there is an art to reading, interpreting and  fully understanding MSDS.  Just because the MSDS mentions radiation or toxicity doesn't necessarily mean that the danger is present in my material. Hmmm. Thanks for the feed back, everyone!   ja

 

Back in the 70's after reading an article about art materials, I got a geiger counter from the science department and used it to check all of the enamels that we had in the Jewelry and Metalcraft studio in the HS. Yup!  There were around ten or twelve of the colors that were radioactive enough to spike high on the meter.  We took them to the science department for disposal as they had procedures for bad materials.  We tried to be very aware of what we were dealing with, but in the 70's not a lot of todays dangers were understood. Old materials pose all sorts of hazards as they could contain chemicals you really don't want to deal with. . .look at removing paint from wood work in an older home-lead.



#5 TJR

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Posted 25 October 2013 - 09:40 AM

hershey;

The Corning Glass Museum in Corning New York has a display of old glass ware from the 20's that is radioactive. The display even has a Geiger counter that ticks.

All the glass is yellow to oranges in colour.

As usual-the most beautiful colours are the most deadly. I think the dosage of radiation was low but I wouldn't want these in my home, much less eat off them.

I guess collecting antiques could be bad for your health.

Yours glowingly, TJR.



#6 JBaymore

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 01:59 PM

I used to use uranium oxide in salt firing.  Gorgeous. 

 

Problem was that even though I was assured by the supplier that it was "depleted" ,..... it was still REALLY hot!  (Bio-medical M.D. PH.D. brother-in-law proved that fact at Harvard.) I talk about that little experience in my ceramic materials classes.

 

Old red and orange Fiesta ware lights uop a geiger counter very well.  Also is lead based glazes..... double whammy.

 

Yes, there is an art at reading and understanding MSDSs.  And remember that the supplier fills out the MSDS form... and there is very little supervison / legal oversight over the accuracy of what is actually included there.  Some MSDSs are well done... some are useless.

 

best,

 

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


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#7 TJR

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 03:07 PM

John;

Those cagey suppliers! I guess they could be saying anything, or omitting stuff.Go figure!

TJR.

Do you or anyone else know if that Corning Glass Museum is still running? I heard that it had shut it's doors? Not my neck of the woods.

T



#8 Bob Coyle

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 06:46 PM

 

This morning I contacted a mason stain manufacturer in Liverpool, Ohio. The technical rep put my mind at ease. He said the stains I have are pretty safe, that the compounds are encapsulated and ok to use as long as they are covered with glaze. He said the ones I have are not radioactive.

 

Of course he is not a bit biased. :rolleyes:    Even if you had a little residual radioactivity in the glaze, it is probably far less than the radium (still used) dial of your watch. Cosmic rays will get you in the end anyway...if you live long enough.



#9 terraforma

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 09:04 PM

For a little dose of how people extensively used toxic colors in the past, this article is great, amusing and horrifying read—check out #5: http://www.cracked.c...estruction.html


Mickey Fielding
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#10 JBaymore

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 10:13 AM

Most of the radiation is Beta Radiation which can be blocked by a thin sheet of paper, or the very outer-most layer of your skin. It clicks a geiger counter but can't really do anything bad

 

In my particular case that is what we all thought.... until my brother-in-law got it tested at Harvard. It was way hotter than it should have been. The "complication" issues came from how much I had and how it was stored (don't want to go into details here). A case of "Caveat Emptor" and "live and learn".

 

best,

 

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


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#11 Pres

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 09:16 AM

Again this is similar to me as having barium in the studio. . . a risk I am unwilling to take. Also as an educator, concern for my students when I was teaching was on the top of my list. Who knows what sort of exposure problems would arise from accidental injestion or even exposure to radioactive materials at an early age, enamels or glaze materials.


Simply retired teacher, not dead, living the dream. on and on and. . . . on. . . .                                                                                 http://picworkspottery.blogspot.com/





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