Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Fiber Paper Safety

There are often concerns raised about safety relating to the dust from Thinfire, a trade marked product from Bullseye. These concerns also apply to the Spectrum product called Papyros. The main constituents of these are cellulose, aluminium hydroxide, fibre glass and organic binders. It therefore is mainly a nuisance dust and irritant. Greg Rawles, a certified industrial hygenist with a scientific and common sense approach, says that the toxicology of fibre glass is not yet determined. So the best idea is to wear a P95 respirator while dealing with the dust – mainly the cleaning phase of dealing with the shelf. He also recommends keeping the kiln closed during the burn-out phase of the binders, although others recommend venting to avoid anything settling on the glass during the burn-out.

Some people seem to have skin reactions to dust including that from Thinfire and Papyros and tend to wear gloves. If you are wearing rubber or latex gloves for extended periods, it may actually promote a reaction to the gloves rather than a primary reaction to the dusts of the paper. So checking on alergic reactions to the gloves is advisable in addition to the dust. 

If in fact, you are reacting to fibre paper dust, consider using kiln wash instead. If this is not practical or desirable there are several things you should do.
  • Use gloves (for those with sensitive skin),
  • wear long sleeved high necked shirts and pull the gloves over the ends of the sleeves to prevent dust getting to your skin,
  • vacuum the kiln with HEPA filters,
  • dampen the powder with water spray before brushing,
  • take precautions against taking the dust home by changing in the studio and placing clothing in plastic bags to take to the wash.