Chemical Hazards in Ceramics

Making ceramics is a form of art and its fun. Most ceramics are colored and what they fondly use to color them are glazes. Before using these colorants check the box and read all labels. Sometimes they do not have labels but all should contain warnings. The colorants in ceramics usually contain nontoxic and toxic ingredients. Cadmium and lead are usually found in these colorants. They are known to be neuro toxic compounds. Both are also carcinogenic.

When working with ceramics you also have to work with clay. There are options when working with this material. One option is working with dry clay and mixing them yourself. The common problem working with dry clay is you can generate a lot of dust. These dusts contain crystalline silica which when inhaled can cause impairment of your lung function.  It may also be a cause to serious lung disease like silicosis and lung cancer. A good way to avoid this is getting your clay pre wetted. This type of clay generates no dust until you finally end up using it.

Ways to avoid people from inhaling these dusts:

  1. Use a mask or a respiratory protection that can help block these particles.
  2. Using a vacuum with a high efficiency particulate air filter can filters out the fine dust and keeps it from being suspended in the air.
  3. Wet mop your floor to pick up any dust particulates. Avoid sweeping them.

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