Q: What do you do to protect yourself from toxic pastel dust?

Used surgical mask

Used surgical mask

A:  Certain sticks of soft pastel contain toxic lead and cadmium so some precautions are necessary.  Before I begin working, I liberally apply a barrier cream, called Artguard, to my hands and wrists so that pastel will not be absorbed through my skin via small cuts that I might have.  I wear a surgical mask to avoided breathing the dust.  Also, I try to work so that my hand is below my head, to lessen the likelihood of breathing particles of pastel as they fall to the floor.  I ensure there is good air circulation in my studio.  Once the dust has settled onto the floor, I try not to stir it up again until I dispose of it.  I’ve been working with soft pastel for 27 years and have managed to stay healthy so far.

Comments are welcome!   

About barbararachkoscoloreddust

Barbara Rachko is a New York Artist, Blogger, and Author who has been meticulously working in Soft Pastel on Sandpaper for 30+ years.

Posted on April 20, 2013, in New York, NY, Pastel Painting, Photography, Studio, Working methods and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Artguard Cream sounds like a wonderful product. I’m not sure the little surgical masks really protect you, but I’m happy you’re still healthy. Keep up your beautiful work.

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