[Clayart] Toxic chemicals.

ronroy at ca.inter.net ronroy at ca.inter.net
Wed Aug 21 13:42:19 EDT 2019

Thanks Sumi,

It does no harm to apply some rational thinking to this subject.

I agree that we live in an increasingly polluted world - much of which  
we cannot avoid. It's also true that many more people are becoming  
aware and concerned.

While I don't think we as potters are great contributors to the  
problem, I do think we can benefit by paying attention to what clays  
and glazes we use.

When John and I decided to write our book we both had this problem in  
mind. Our glazes are still the only tested glazes published. We hoped  
that more authors and glaze producers would follow our example. This  
has not happened except for a few exceptions.

On the brighter side, many potters Like Sumi have made the adjustments  
and are benefiting from that.

There are some who still think that being concerned about toxic  
materials leaching out of glazes is overkill. There are those who will  
not or cannot change. Many are simply too lazy to learn the skills  
necessary to understand our craft.

I have no idea what the balance of those who are concerned against  
those not concerned is. I do know it is changing for the better.


Quoting sumi <sumi at herwheel.com>:

> Antoinette
> Interesting point. We (with the help of Ron and John) are trying to  
> be responsible by telling our students how to make stable glazes  
> that won't poison their loved ones. I try to make sure all the  
> glazes in my classroom are labeled according to whether they are  
> liner glazes, stable glazes, or, in the case of a couple, not to be  
> used on surfaces that will come into contact with food. The result  
> of our increasing knowledge and care is that people are increasingly  
> scared! I think it's throughout the culture in every industry,  
> though. I stopped using a brand of very nice seaweed because  
> California made them put a "prop 65" warning on the package to tell  
> me the seaweed may contain trace amounts of cadmium or mercury, to  
> which as it happens I have high levels of antibodies and therefore  
> really must avoid them. Yes, all seafood probably has trace amounts  
> of these heavy metals. Without prop 65 I just wouldn't know.
> People are suffering from the pervasive toxins in the environment  
> (herbicides, pesticides, heavy metals, BPA, etc.) and doing  
> everything they can to avoid any toxic exposure. So, the truth is,  
> some people probably really shouldn't buy a house that had glaze  
> materials in the basement. In fact, it's possible I should be  
> avoiding glaze chemicals but I just try to be very careful. At least  
> I understand enough to be appropriately careful.
> Sumi
>> Hi guys. I am still alive and well. Read more and take more note of
>> your notes here at this time, since I had a very busy year this far.
>> I know we talked about the ?big scare for  ceramics materials? before;
>> to the point that some colleges want/or already closed ceramic
>> programs,  but I thought of bringing it up again, since it looks like
>> it is really becoming an issue. Young potters are scared to the point
>> that they do not want to mix glazes themselves, which ironically takes
>> all control out of their hands of what they are actually working with
>> and no lesser hazard.
>> There is an incident that a person reported about a house sale that is
>> falling through, because they did not declare that they worked with
>> ?toxic chemicals? in their basement studio.
>> I am just shaking my head; we know responsible handling and knowledge
>> is key. Maybe something to pay more attention to in class setups.
>> Best wishes,
>> Antoinette Badenhorst
>> www.porcelainbyAntoinette.com
>> www.TeachinArt.com

Ron Roy
ronroy at ca.inter.net
Web page ronroy.net

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