[Clayart] Toxic Chems

Snail Scott claywork at flying-snail.com
Sun Aug 25 10:28:23 EDT 2019

> On Aug 24, 2019, at 12:38 PM, Jim Brown <jbrown1000 at GMAIL.COM> wrote
> I have never understood the, many times, hysteria about pottery and toxic
> chemicals…

Most people don’t get the education (or pay attention to the education they did get) to exercise critical thinking about the information they get. This is exacerbated by the simplistic way that news stories relate scientific research. Sensationalism gets noticed; factual specifics get lost.

Most large manufacturers (and universities) also have legal departments which are hyper-aware of legal liability. Even if a suit is found to be unjustified in court, defending against it can cost a lot. Better to avoid the possibility entirely, they reason. Ralph Nader helped out in that regard, with his oft-repeated encouragement not to sue the specific person at fault - often the actual (mis-)user - but to trace the connection as far up the line as you had to to find the ‘deep pockets’. Didn’t wear your respirator like you were told to? Sue the parent company of the employer of the manager who only told you ten times to use it instead of a hundred times. With all the big organizations choosing to avoid ‘toxic materials’ and anything that even resembles them, is it any wonder that people think there’s a good reason?

Some materials and activities _are_ potentially hazardous - emphasis on the ’potentially’. It’s important to educate people on appropriate actions and precautions, even if giving in to blanket fear-mongering is easier and takes less effort. With so many things now accompanied by daunting cautionary labels, the genuine risks get lost in the noise.

Snail Scott
claywork at flying-snail.com

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