The European Union is considering a ban on the cadmium pigment in artists’ paints, The Art Newspaper reported. The commenting period on a restriction proposal with the European Chemical Agency (ECA) closed September 19, and if the measure is adopted when the agency makes its decision in December, the highly toxic pigment could be banned from oil, acrylic, and watercolor paints within two years. The initial 197-page dossier calling for the ban was submitted with the ECA by the Swedish Chemicals Agency in December 2013.
The Swedish report documents the toxicities of the popular pigment, which helps achieve bright yellows, reds, and oranges. Michael Craine, managing director of Spectrum Artists’ Paints, an independent British manufacturer of artists’ paints, told The Art Newspaper that the loss of the pigment would prove aesthetically devastating: “The alternatives are not replacement pigments … They lack the vibrancy of cadmium colours, are muddy-looking and disappointing.”