If being a painter wasn’t hard enough nowadays, the Irish Times is reporting that research published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine suggests that painters have a 30% higher chance of developing cancer of the bladder. The studies they cite were carried out from the 1950s to the 1990s and based on almost 3,000 cases of the disease in professional painters reported in 41 separate studies:
The study found that plasterers, glaziers, wallpaper hangers, artists and decorators were exposed to the same risk …
While smoking is a key risk, the authors of the study found that after taking tobacco use into account, painters were still 30 per cent more likely to develop bladder cancer than the general population.
Two words: oh, shit.
Hat tip @michaelpinto
Until art schools institute a one-semester course on safety practices, we need to educate ourselves on the dangers of the mediums and materials we use. We need to practice “safe studio” –wear gloves, ventilate, clean up appropriately, change out of our studio clothes before going home. And if home and studio are the same place, we need to create boundaries between the two zones. We tend to have the least amount of health insurance, often with the highest deductibles. If we don’t take care of ourselves, who will. Not a sexy topic, but necessary. Thanks for this, Hrag.
Here’s a few thoughts & links:
Oil painters especially – Wear surgical gloves. Avoid coming in contact with paint and turps. Ventilate your workspace using exhaust fans with motors which are sealed to prevent explosions. Wash hands prior to eating or drinking.
• Pastel painters wear respirator. Use a vacuum system to capture loose powders.
• Airbrush painters, Spray Painters – use a respirator. Coating your lungs with Acrylic and or oil mediums will turn them to stone! Remain flexible in your endeavors.
• Avoid the age old practice of pointing fine brushes with your mouth.
These are all fantastic things that people should know. Thank you for the links.
I wasn’t going to say anything, but decided that this is too important a subject to ignore.
Trust me. Chemo SUCKS. Be careful, be safe. I changed my entire work practice and no longer work in toxic materials. Read some labels and see what’s lurking in your studio.
My grandfather died last year of a very rare esophogeal cancer. He took up painting late in life. After he died I inherited all his art supplies and going through his voluminous number of paint tubes there were a lot of cadmiums and cobalts in the batch. He was in his 90s, and I have no actual reason to believe this cancer was in any way related to these pigments but as I go through them I have to wonder if what I’m holding contributed to his death…
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