We are completely open and honest with you about any health hazards related to the products we sell. We ourselves are not chemists so we pass on to you the information given to us by the manufacturers. We hide nothing intentionally. It doesn't matter to us which product you decide to use - we try to have them all so you can choose. Each person has their own opinion and their own standards as to what is "safe" - we think that's just fine, and we don't interfere. We will gladly and freely tell you everything we know about any product we sell and allow you to decide if you wish to use it or some other product. We've always been careful to provide you with good informational labels on all the products we package. We've avoided selling products we think are serious threats to your health and encourage our suppliers to do the same. That being said, there are products we sell that should be handled with care, and we give you some good common sense rules to follow below when handling dyes and chemicals.
To conform to state laws, our labels make everything sound like a deadly poison, even simple things like sawdust and seaweed. The law says you have to warn everyone about everything, regardless of how obvious, stupid or remote the possibility. Anyway, we are now labeled to the "max". Please don't hold it against us. You may find the same product from another supplier without any warning label at all. Same product, different label. California Proposition 65 requires that products sold in California which contain, in any amount, any chemical on what is called the "Prop 65 list" be labeled as follows: "Contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer." You get that warning at the entrance to all bars in California, because alcohol is on that list. On that list are many chemicals including alcohol, cigarette smoke, copper, etc. Some products we sell bear that label because they contain alcohol. Some bear the warning because they contain trace amounts of Formaldehyde, etc.
What we have found is that good common sense and housekeeping practices keep us safe from most things. In general, follow these precautions:
- Wear an approved dust mask when handling powders so you don't inhale dye or chemical dust. Inhaling powders and dusts of any kind is not good for you. Inhaling is the main way these type of things can get into your body. If you work with dyes and chemicals for a living, have allergies or chemical sensitivities, upgrade yourself to a good Deluxe Rubber Respirator.
- Wipe up areas where you have been using powdered dyes or chemicals with a damp old towel afterwards, to pick up any stray powder so it won't get into or on stuff. Wipe up liquid spills immediately, because after they dry up, they can become airborne.
- If there is any chance of getting the dyes or chemicals in your eyes, wear protective eyewear.
- Wear rubber gloves so that you don't wreck your skin or absorb stuff through your skin (though most molecules are too large to actually absorb) or look like some weird tie-dyed creature.
- Provide adequate ventilation if fumes or powder dusts are present. This means cross ventilation, preferably with an exhaust fan. You can also put a box fan in one window, pointed to the outside to suck out room air, and open another window opposite for the fresh air to come in and replace it.
- Don't breathe fumes. Dust masks don't help with fumes. Deluxe Rubber Respirators will keep you from breathing dusts, mists and vapors with the proper filters.
- Don't use cooking or eating utensils to prepare dyes, chemicals and other craft products that are not intended for human consumption. Get a used microwave, if you are using one for your craft, to use as a dedicated microwave just for your craft.
- If you are going to store anything in the fridge, tape the container closed and label it very clearly!
- Keep dyes and all chemicals away from unsupervised children and pets. Colors look like food to them and there is no telling what they will do!
- Pregnant women must be particularly alert. Discuss the use of dyes and chemicals with your doctor.
- If you experience an adverse reaction from using any product, stop using it at once. Allergies and chemical sensitivities are unique to individuals and impossible to predict.
- Use your common sense and pay attention to what you are doing. Don't work when you are tired. Don't do things like opening jars of dyes or paint over your new or white carpet.
- Our clothing is not treated with fire retardants and is not suitable for use as sleepwear for children 12 and under!
The biggest safety threat in using any craft material is to children and pets. You just can't predict what they will do, and they are not always reasonable. If you don't anticipate and prevent it, they may very well eat and drink everything in your studio. Teens left with unsupervised dye baths are pretty unpredictable too! (We know - just when we think we've heard it all...)
Check out our Safety Tools for helpful products.
For those of you who need it, for your school or otherwise, we have available Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for all of our dyes, paints and chemicals that you can download and print at your convenience. They are written for a worst case scenario manufacturing environment. If you need help interpreting them, give us a call.
If you need any further advice or information on safety that we haven't covered here, please feel free to call us at 800-542-5227 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.