Health & Safety
Good Housekeeping for Your Health and Safety
We supply a wide range of raw materials and products to meet your needs, but we also pass along our concern for their proper use. The earth materials (oxides and compounds) found in ceramics can prove hazardous to your health if not handled with care. Carefully review the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for the products you will use, particularly glazing compounds, which often contain some highly toxic compounds. Identify the hazardous components in each product. Some of these materials are toxic or irritating, and you should use proper procedures when handling.
To prevent the inhalation of dusts, regularly wet mop, hose down, or vacuum (with a HEPA vacuum) your workplace. Do not sweep an area or allow wet clay to dry for this can lead to airborne dust.
To prevent inhalation of kiln fumes, do not work in the same room when firing, and always vent your kiln based off manufacturer guidelines. It is also good to keep a fire extinguisher close by and be able to use it if necessary. To protect against the heat of the kiln, wear non-asbestos, heat resistant gloves.
Wear goggles to protect against flying particles while grinding, and approved shaded goggles to protect against rays while looking into the kiln.
Because your hands become contaminated while working, do not eat, drink, or smoke in the studio while working. Always wash your hands thoroughly after working in your studio to lessen exposure to the chemicals and materials you are working with. If you have cuts or open wounds on hands wear gloves to prevent infection while working. It is even recommended to wear gloves while mixing your own glazes to prevent exposure while working.
When choosing a glaze for functional ware that comes into contact with food or drink select a glaze that is food-safe. Proper testing of this glaze is necessary as even commercial glazes labeled “food-safe” cannot assure a safe product as variations in application and firing can alter leaching characteristics. To test a glaze's acid resistance, squeeze a lemon or orange wedge onto a horizontal, glazed surface. Changes in the glaze color indicate that acids from foods can leach materials from the glaze, and that it is not food safe. If you are making commercial ceramics it is recommended to get your glazes tested by a laboratory to ensure the safety of your product.