Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
SShirley

Looking For Other Potters With A1-At Deficiency

Recommended Posts

I was just diagnosed with it and wanted to see if there were any other potters out there and how they deal with it. My fear is that I will have to give up clay.

 

For those who don't know, it's a genetic disorder that can destroy the lungs and liver. Patients are supposed to avoid all environmental irritants, like smoke, chemicals and dust.

 

Thanks,

 

Sylvia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry to hear about that for you.

Most clay work you can avoid all those things with the right tools and attitude-wear gloves while glazing (I do)

use a wet mop so no dust.

Smoke-well I never see any.

Just take precautions and you should be able to play with clay just fine.

Mark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When working with the dry materials, always wear a respirator with at least an N95 filter. I agree with Mark about wet mopping. You may want to add an air filtration system in you studio. If you can afford it, a glazing hood would be a good investment. Most of the problems of alpha-1 antitrypsin def. can be reduced in a studio by minimizimg dust aerosolizationin.

 

You can test to see how much dust is getting through your mask and to your respiatory tract by lining the inside of your nosrtils with vasoline petroleum jelly. Apply it with a Q-tip before wearing the N95 mask. After you have finished working in the studio, blow your nose and check for trapped dust in the mucous.

 

Jed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks guys!  I think I'm going to hire somebody to come give the studio and gallery a good wet cleaning to get out what dust there is already.  (This place is a mess!)  Then start from scratch with better practices.  I already do wet mopping, but not often enough.  I wish I had a floor drain.  Also thinking I might mix my glazes inside the spray booth.  I think dipping my glazes would be better than spraying in the future.  I know after a day of mixing or spraying glaze I can hardly breathe when I get home, so I'm not doing it right.  

 

I have not used my respirator as much as I should have in the past, so I need to get into that habit.  I have so much trouble breathing with the darn thing on, but I will try again.

 

Thanks for your suggestions.

 

Sylvia

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Sylvia,

 

To minimize dust, I wash my aprons and any rags often, as they become quite dusty with dried clay that was wiped from my hands.

When glazing, I wear a shower cap (and big pants and shirt over my clothes) to minimize bringing dust into the house.

Changing my pillow case often as well to protect from breathing clay dust from my hair. 

 

Karen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Karen, you are so right about the aprons and towels. I love the shower cap idea, too. And I never even thought about the pillowcase. Great suggestions! Thanks!

 

Sylvia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sylvia,

 

Hummmmmmm........... I'm gonna' come at this question from a very different "place".  Probably not in the "popular choice" department. 

 

First of all.... sorry you are going through this.

 

Starting things off here with a bit of a "source vetting" statement.  Part of my formal job at the college is to teach about ceramic toxicology, for many years I was the chair of the Health and Safety Committee of the school, and for one year I was the acting Intitim Health and Safety "officer" (sole responsibility H+S issues) for the college.  (However I am not a medical professional.) 

 

The place to figure this important question out is not on an internet forum frequented by ceramic artists, no matter how good everyone's intentions might be.  It very much sounds like you are talking about a significant potential risk to your health and length of life.  This discussion should be taking place in great detail with your doctors.  God love potters... we all want to help each other.... but this is a medical issue, not a ceramic issue.  You  want to fix kilns or glazes... talk to experienced potters.  You want to deal with medical issues..... talk with experienced doctors.

 

Your physicians need to know precisely what you are working with as far as potential exposures go.  In writing, and in as much detail as you can give them.  That way they can make educated recommendations for you.  You can also always go AMA (against medical advice) but that is your personal decision to make after getting as accurate advicce as you can obtain.

 

If your intent/desire is to continue with clay work seriously, then you should be seeing an occupational health specalist in addition to your G.P. physician (get a referral).  Those specialists will know how to interpret the information that you will give about potential studio exposures and such.  And the effectiveness of potential "controls" that can be put in place to mitigate any such exposures.  Most GPs don't tend to believe that we handle or are exposed to the nasty stuff that we are..... which can cause them to not believe that there is as much hazard as theere might be.... or to over-react the other way and over=blow the issue.  Occuaptional health specialists deal with industrial exposures........ and understand the issues.

 

As far as studio exposures go, you can get precise numbers to give you physicians that will help them quantify the issues or non-issues.  Your main issues in this case appear to be airborne toxins and irritants.  You can get air sampling done relatively inexpensively (few hundred dollars) that will give your doctors very accuratte information to go on.  An occupational health specialist can give you a local recommendation for a engineering controls company that can come test your workspace for you.  Lots of ways that this can be done... but one useful approach likely would be to have you wear a little filtering pickup device as you spend a full day working as you typically do.... and from that they can tell pretty precisely both qualitatively and quantitatively what the risks are.  From there...... other tests can get doine, as needed.

 

The "good news" in this is that while we all should be concerned about the exposures we get to stuff in the studio, usually the exposures are at well lower levels than what we all tend to all fear.  So it might very well be that your doctors can say that yes, you can continue to work in the studio with appropriate care.  But to have them recommend accurately, they need to know pretty accurately what doing that might mean to you.

 

If you PM me your email address I wil send you a "handout" that I use in classes at the college that might be useful to hand off to your physicians for "reference".

 

Best of luck with getting this sorted out.

 

best,

 

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

Pres, Darcy Kane and HBLB229 like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just went to a support website and on the health tips page under stress management they suggest a pottery class:

 

Stress Management — You might join a yoga class, practice deep relaxation or deep breathing, call a friend, play anything you enjoy, watch a sunset, laugh or take a pottery class. Just about anything that relaxes you is a good idea. Practice relaxing daily and often. Through relaxation and slower, deeper breathing, anxiety and panic are better controlled.

 

http://alpha-1foundation.org/health-tips/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just went to a support website and on the health tips page under stress management they suggest a pottery class:

 

Stress Management — You might join a yoga class, practice deep relaxation or deep breathing, call a friend, play anything you enjoy, watch a sunset, laugh or take a pottery class. Just about anything that relaxes you is a good idea. Practice relaxing daily and often. Through relaxation and slower, deeper breathing, anxiety and panic are better controlled.

 

http://alpha-1foundation.org/health-tips/

Oh, that's funny!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well the one thing I will add John is that doctors can both be wrong and difficult to deal with. Egos and plain misinformation can get in the way of truly getting to the bottom of a health issue and allowing a person to make the final decisions after reviewing all the options. In this case I can see many doctors simply telling Sylvia to cease her clay work because clay means dust, dust is bad, end of discussion. No one can argue that's wrong in that it completely removes the danger clay presents to her condition. At the end of the day it may be exactly what Sylvia decides to do but there may some shades of grey here for her to explore as well.

 

The Internet does provide a way to thoroughly research this condition and get a wide range of opinions and information, providing of course the person understands how to filter through it all and not rely on ad hoc hypotheses. Before the Internet we used to spend time in the library working our way through the card catalog. The information was likely more accurate because of the complexity of a book ending up on a shelf but information was also more sparse for the same reason. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The clay studios in their imaginations must be a very clean and calm place.  Mine isn't one of those.  There is dust, mess, aggravation, frustration and annoyance, tempered with just enough bliss to make it all worthwhile.

JBaymore likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just went to a support website and on the health tips page under stress management they suggest a pottery class:

 

Stress Management — You might join a yoga class, practice deep relaxation or deep breathing, call a friend, play anything you enjoy, watch a sunset, laugh or take a pottery class. Just about anything that relaxes you is a good idea. Practice relaxing daily and often. Through relaxation and slower, deeper breathing, anxiety and panic are better controlled.

 

http://alpha-1foundation.org/health-tips/

In the same sentence!!!! Yes we laugh!! usually at our stupidity to take note, or with tears of relief that we got away with something  or sheer relief from the anxiety caused by being a worker of a medium which is as tricky to manage as a basket of puppies! I'm getting anxious now from what awaits me in the shed   haven't been there for a few weeks. Hope the self flushing gadget worked!

Good luck with your research Sylvia.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So sorry to hear about your situation. Two of my children and I have asthma. My studio is in my house so I was concerned after I learned the potential day danger. I the air quality testing is a good idea. I did my own non scientific test. My home is older and always very dusty. I cleaned designated areas once a week for a month and then monitored for dust. Result was that my studio is one of the cleanest rooms in the house. Kilns are in another building and the only thing that bothers me. Also I buy all my clay premade.

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
Sign in to follow this  

×