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safety in the seventies

updated tue 3 aug 99


David Hendley on fri 30 jul 99

At 09:25 AM 7/28/99 EDT, RR wrote:
>----------------------------Original message----------------------------
>By the way - has anyone ever gotten any of this safety stuff in school?

Ron, I have to shake my head in amazment when I think about
what we did at school in the 1970's.
Safety was not a concern, other than the basics, like, don't blow
up the kiln by filling it with raw gas.
There was not a dust mask or safety glasses in the building.
No mention was made that certain ingredients, like barium carbonate
were poisonous. We ate lunch in the ceramics room everyday, and
my teacher smoked like a chimney for the 25 years he was there.
My school was not unusual; no one seemed to pay much attention
in those days.

Well, for what it's worth, my teacher, now retired, is still in fine health
at age 70+.
But I figure I used up a lot of my 'free passes' in the chemical and dust
department as a youth and now try not tempt fate by continuing to
be careless. Thanks to you and others for pointing out the health
hazards in the pottery shop.
I think that some people today have gone too far in the other direction.
To me, advice like, 'take off your clothes before entering your house
if you have been making glazes' is needless overkill. But this awareness is
a lot better than the cloud (figuratively and literally) we walked around in
in the old days.

This increased awareness of health and safety concerns has affected
all areas of life. When I think about my father, who died in 1977, I
sometimes think at how amazed he would be with things today. His
business was selling milk cartons. Yes, cardboard cartons. If you'd told
him that in 20 years millions of people would pay top dollar for drinking
water in little plastic bottles, he would never believe it. Likewise, if you
told him that smoking would be prohibited in most public buildings, and
even in bars in some states.

David Hendley
Maydelle, Texas

Mike Gordon on sun 1 aug 99

Hey David,
I'm with you all the way! When I think about the work I did in the
studio as T.A. all those yrs.I teach now and test positive for T.B. skin
test so need chest x-rays and always come up with clear lungs,I'm
wondering if those chemicals would show up in an x-ray as opposed to
what ever TB looks like? I also remember way back someone posted an
address to send a blood sample and they would test it for all
metals,etc. I also spent 4 yrs in a bronze foundry, doing patina's, sand
casting, investment casting.Its a wonder I can still walk! The heavy
metals, ya know???? :-) Anybody out there remember or know of an
institution that does these tests? Mike

Valice Raffi on mon 2 aug 99


I think it's pretty safe to say that I have learned nearly everything I
know about safety in the studio/classroom from this list, and many thnks
for that!

Oh sure, I did learn a few basics in school, like don't drop a hot raku
piece on your feet and don't put brushes in your mouth (DUH!), but the
state of safety in the classroom is abysmal. And the molded greenware
places are even worse... airbrush glaze spraying in a roomful of people
with nary a mask (or vent) in sight, old glazes dripped on tabletops as a
part of the permament decorations...

As a teacher, safety is the first, middle AND last thing I talk about. And
I am constantly amazed at the dangerous things clay artists do (those that
don't subscribe to this list).

in Sacramento, trying not to worry about those early years when I ate while
glazing with all those fully leaded Duncan glazes I got on closeout sales.