Last Updated: Jun 11, 2019     Views: 149

The Museum does not advise on issues of the toxicity, safety, or environmental impact of glassmaking. We must refer you to your local, state, and federal regulatory agencies for standards for indoor air and emissions to the environment, to the manufacturers of the colors for safety data sheets for their products and “best practices” for use, and to professional environmental engineers for interpreting these standards in ways consistent with your specific operations.

What are the issues?

button card
Image: Cardboard Sample Card with 63 buttons. CMoG 2007.3.133.

Some glasses do contain small amounts of heavy metals -- in order to give glasses their rich, deep colors. In general, the presence of heavy metals at certain levels has been linked to environmental and health issues. In the United States, glass manufacturers or mass-producers of glass are meant to follow USEPA (Environmental Protection Agency https://www3.epa.gov/) and state regulations regarding air emissions.

Government Regulations

The governmental regulations are established to prevent harm to human health and the environments. For more information on safety while working with glass/heating glass you may wish to consult the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (https://www.osha.gov/), National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/), or the Environmental Protection Agency (https://www3.epa.gov/).

For further reading:

  • Henley, Vince. “Studio Safety: Hazardous Substances and Alphabet Soup.” The Glass Bead, v. 16 [i.e. 15], issue 2 (Spring 2008), pp. 26-27, ill. Notes: International Society of Glass Beadmakers. Terminology used to describe levels of toxicity.
  • Henley, Vince. “Studio Safety: Part Two: Hazardous Substances and Alphabet Soup.” The Glass Bead, v. 15, issue 3 (Summer 2008), pp. 26-27, ill. Notes: International Society of Glass Beadmakers. Discussion of three related concepts: toxicity, hazard, and risk.
  • Henley, Vince. “Studio Safety: Part Three: Hazardous Substances and Alphabet Soup.” The Glass Bead, v. 15, issue 4 (Autumn 2008), pp. 34-35, ill. Notes: International Society of Glass Beadmakers. Topics include coating, copper, palladium, enamels, sodium bicarbonate, and scavo.
  • Henley, Vince. “Studio Safety: Respirators Revisited.” The Glass Bead, v. 17, issue 2 (Spring 2010), pp. 22-23, ill. Notes: International Society of Glass Beadmakers. Also includes explanation of airborne hazards.
  • "Lead, arsenic & chrome emitted by glass furnaces." ACTS Facts. v. 11, no. 6, June 1997, p. 4. Notes: Additional info: Arts, Crafts and Theater Safety.
  • Schwabach, Deborah. “Health and Safety: The Fine Art of Pollution Prevention." The Firing Line. Fall/Winter 1996, pp. 10-13. Notes: Additional info: Orton Firing Institute, Westerville, OH.
  • Simmons, Robert. “Safety and Soft Glass: Heavy Metals.” The Glass Bead, v. 18, issue 1 (Winter 2011), pp. 7-9+, ill. Notes: International Society of Glass Beadmakers. Health effects of working with metals and metallic compounds.

Borrowing Library Materials

If you wish to borrow copies of library items, please contact your local library. The Rakow Research Library will lend designated books from its collection and will send copies of articles requested by other libraries. Your library can request items through the OCLC WorldShare Interlibrary Loan (ILL) system or by direct request through email at ill@cmog.org. For more information, please see our ILL policies and procedures.

 

More extensive lists of resources on these and other artists as well as on the studio glass movement in general are available upon request. Contact us via Ask a Glass Question (http://libanswers.cmog.org/) or by email (rakow@cmog.org) or phone (607-438-5300).

 

Please don't hesitate to contact us with your glass-related questions in the future!

 

 

 

 

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