Glass Studio Safety
While many glass studio activities and materials bear safety risks, common sense and basic safety equipment will keep you safe. The primary risks with glass, other than cuts, are handling dusts from powder and food contact safety.
Handling and Generating Glass Powder
Common sense and Industrial Hygienists clearly agree on this one – inhaling, ingesting, or getting glass powder in your eyes should be avoided. This is particularly so with colored glass. Although it is scientifically unclear whether the human body is able to separate, or leach, the colorants out of glass into the body, best practice is to assume that it can. So you want to avoid inhaling or ingesting glass dusts. Here’s how:
· Wear NIOSH approved respiratory protection (dust masks), fitted closely over your nose and chin. Be aware that facial hair will ‘break the seal’ around the edge of these masks and will allow dusty air to bypass your mask. So gents if you can’t shave it to provide a clean contact surface for your face mask, use a supplied air hood as we do in our batch mixing area.
· Wear eye protection including side shields.
· Minimize the generation and lifting of dusts. Whether sifting powder made by us, or making it yourself while sawing, grinding, or drilling, take steps to minimize it. Keep it wet (sawing, grinding, drilling, and during clean-up),
· Keep your work area well ventilated.
· Keep your work area clean, wiping surfaces with damp cloth, or vacuuming with HEPA filtered vacuums.
· Separate your work and eating areas. Don’t wear dusty work clothes into an eating area. Wash hands and face prior to eating.
Food Safety Considerations
Food safety in glass objects is primarily a leachate question. Can toxic metals used for colorants, but bound into the glassy matrix, leach into food or liquid from your glass plate, bowl, or cup?
· Many years ago, an accredited testing lab performed ‘leachate tests’ on a variety of Uroboros colors. This widely used standardized test measures the rate of leaching of metals from glazes and glasses into an acidic solution. This test would immediately point out issues such as the famous Mexican lead glazed coffee cups that leached lead into coffee. Uroboros formulas are designed with long term durability in mind, so leaching and age-etching are minimized by design. All of our colors passed the leachate tests.
· Despite the above, we recommend against positioning colored glass on any food contact surface in your work. Best practice is to place a clear ‘cap’ layer, whether it be sheet or a fused layer of clear frit, on the food contact surface.
For More Information
· Read more about material safety for our glass products in these Material Safety Data Sheets.
· If you have any other questions or concerns, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, with ‘Safety Concerns’ as the subject line. We will answer you as best we can.