Artist Studio Safety


Many of the materials and processes associated with creating art can be dangerous to the artist and those close to the artist.
Learn about these dangers and then take steps to reduce or avoid risks associated with creating your artwork.

How to Handle Hazardous Art Materials

Metalsmith and Beneficiary Aran Galligan


Identify your hazardous art materials and supplies

  • Poisonous, irritant and corrosive materials
  • Flammable and combustible materials
  • Review the Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for the chemicals you use in order to better understand their proper use, storage and disposal
    • It is important to have a copy of the SDS for each hazardous chemical used in your studio and to understand the SDS information
    • SDS’s include a “Signal” word. “Danger” is used for the more severe hazards and “Warning” is used for the less severe hazards.
    • Manufacturers and distributors of hazardous chemicals are required to provide information about the hazards in a standard, 16 section format
      • Sections 1-8 of an SDS contain general information about the chemical, identification, hazards, composition, safe handling practices, and emergency control measures (e.g., fire fighting).
      • Sections 9-11 and section 16 contain other technical and scientific information, such as physical and chemical properties, stability and reactivity information, toxicological information, exposure control information.
      • Sections 12-15 contain information regarding chemical disposal, transport and other important, but non-mandatory considerations.
    • Have these OSHA SDS reference sheets available at your studio
    • Learn about Art & Creative Materials Institute’s (ACMI) seals found on many artist material labels.
      • “AP” stands for APPROVED PRODUCT and is usually accompanied by the word “Nontoxic”.
      • “CL” is an abbreviation for CAUTIONARY LABEL, and is used when risk and safety information is required on the label.

Minimize hazardous material use and mitigate exposure

Store flammable materials properly

Ventilate for health

Wear the right gear


Don’t leave dirty rags about. They can spontaneously combust!

Don’t use generic containers, because having the original label on the chemical container is essential for safety.


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