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  1. Hi all, I’m hoping this community can let me know if I’m being overly paranoid or should be genuinely concerned. About three years ago I purchased 25 lbs of Amaco no.25 white clay. I had absolutely no clue that clay contained silica and was potentially hazardous to my health until literally earlier today. I have been sculpting on and off for the last three years, and I wasn’t the tidiest when it came to cleaning up. I have only hand built small pieces (around a foot tall) in that time, a total of five, and two of them I made in the last month as work has slowed down. I have not worked with any glazes or anything else, just the clay, and only when wet. The issue however is that because I wasn’t aware of the health hazards I left my work station somewhat sloppy, with dried clumps left for months at a time. I’m sure there were little pieces on the floor. My studio space basically consists of a table in me and my partner’s shared office. I am absolutely losing it at the idea that I have put our health at risk. As I understand it silicosis is something that builds up over years of low exposure, but there were extended periods of time where I had dried clay sitting out on my table where silica could have been exposing itself to the air and our lungs. I have since cleaned down every surface, opened the windows, mopped the floors, cleaned every tool and put away every piece of clay into a plastic bucket. I’m considering throwing my finished bone dry pieces in a reclaim bucket as I can’t fire them in a kiln and also don’t want them to cause any harm. I have ordered a HEPA filter which cannot arrive soon enough to clean the air. I’m terrified at the thought that silica is on every surface of our apartment and endangering our health. As much as I am absolutely in love with sculpting I’m putting an immediate halt to it as this seems to be a very serious issue and I want to prevent any further harm. So - how much trouble are we in here?
  2. Hey everyone! I used to have a very small scale ceramic studio where I made ceramics for about 6 years full time. I was pretty lax with my cleaning so I am worried about developing silicosis. For the last 3 years of my practice I wore a proper mask with changeable filters full time. I wasn't mixing clays, but I mixed small amounts of glaze but used mostly pre-made commercial wet glazes. Still though, I was young and could have done a MUCH better job in regards to cleaning and it was definitely a bit dusty at times. I am now starting ceramics again full time in a new studio. I aim to keep it pristine and will only be producing small slab work pieces. Is 6 years full time exposure to clay dust a cause for concern? Most information I find online is from construction which seems like a very different ballgame. Thanks so much!
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