Health and Safety
- Labeling of Hazardous Materials
- Additional Health Labeling: California Proposition 65
- Material Safety Data Sheets
- Paint Storage Tips
- Poison Control
Dick Blick Art Materials has always been a leader in informing artists, teachers, and consumers about potential hazards in the arts. For artists who want to use the same techniques and materials as the great masters, handling of hazardous materials is a necessity. We seek to identify risks, to help our customers find materials that are safe and appropriate. When they must use hazardous materials, we want our customers to be informed, so that they will handle those materials properly.
The Art and Creative Materials Institute (ACMI) is a non-profit trade association of art and craft materials manufacturers. Since 1940, ACMI has conducted a certification program in which product formulas are analyzed by a renowned toxicologist and certified by ACMI as non-toxic or properly labeled. ACMI certification also ensures compliance to state and federal labeling regulations.
Dick Blick is concerned about your safety. We are members of ACMI and we feel it is important that our products are certified under the ACMI program. Young children sometimes chew crayons, drink tempera, eat paste, or lick paint brushes. Adult products must bear the proper health and safety labeling to ensure that artists, hobbyists, and other consumers have lifelong health protection and safety information about the art materials they use.
Products bearing the AP seal of the Art & Creative Materials Institute, Inc. (ACMI) are certified non-toxic. A medical expert evaluates each product and its ingredients. A product can be certified non-toxic only if it contains no materials in sufficient quantities to be toxic or injurious to humans, or to cause acute or chronic health problems. AP certification is reviewed by ACMI's Toxicological Advisory Board. These products are certified by ACMI to be labeled in accordance with the chronic hazard labeling standard, ASTM D-4236 and federal law P.L. 100-695.
Dick Blick recommends that when you purchase art materials, particularly for classroom and institutional use, you should carefully consider the ultimate consumer. In cases where a product may be used in pre-school or primary school classes (K-6), or in environments with physically or mentally challenged persons who may be unable to read or understand safety labeling, you should purchase materials which are AP certified non-toxic products. This will ensure that even the most sensitive populations can safely enjoy art and craft activities.
Products bearing the CL seal of the Art & Creative Materials Institute ("Caution Label") contain ingredients that are toxic or hazardous, but they can be used safely with appropriate caution. Materials that bear the CL seal should be used only by those persons who are able to read, understand, and follow suggested safety precautions for handling those materials. The Caution Label signifies that although the product contains a toxic element, it can be handled safely if the directions on the container or packaging are followed. Many such art products cannot be made non-hazardous, but are necessary for certain creative activities.
Many of the materials we sell are not reviewed by ACMI. We feel that it would trivialize the health and safety issues in the arts if we told you that scissors are sharp and kilns are hot. Our goal is to identify hazards that might not be known to our customers, and where possible, to identify safer alternative products. We also seek out products that promote health and safety in the arts, and we urge our customers to use them.
Some art materials manufacturers are not members of ACMI; this is particularly true of foreign manufacturers, from whom we import some of our finest color lines. Many of our office and graphic arts products, such as marking pens, adhesives, or screen printing chemicals, do not come from ACMI manufacturers. Always read labels and instructions, and follow the manufacturer's guidelines for safe use. Young children should always have careful supervision when using art materials. Think of safety issues before you allow children to visit your studio. For products that do not have ACMI certification, we sometimes include a specific cautionary label of our own.
ACMI labeling indicates that a product has passed through a vigorous review process. Absense of the ACMI caution label does not indicate that a product is safe for use by children. Please read all labels and instructions before using art materials. Be an informed customer. We try to inform our customers of important health and safety issues, and we invite your comments on this issue.
The State of California requires clear and reasonable warnings on products and/or storage containers containing chemicals that have been shown to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm. Even if these products contain only trace levels of harmful chemicals, a warning is required by the State of California.
Manufacturers of certain products have included warnings pursuant to California Proposition 65, and caution is recommended when using products marked with the Prop 65 icon.
In response to the Right-to-Know laws concerning toxic substances in the workplace, Dick Blick Art Materials will supply this information to you.
In an effort to make MSDS information more easily accessible to our customers, all Material Safety Data Sheets are now posted online and can be easily accessed directly from our product pages.
To find MSDS sheets online, simply go to the page of any product in which you are interested. If an item has an MSDS sheet on file, you will see this icon in the item listing table. Click on the icon to directly access the MSDS information for that product.
To submit a request for MSDS by mail, phone, or fax, please specify the Dick Blick item numbers and give a description of each product for which you need a data sheet. We will review your request and supply sheets for those items that require them. Direct your request to our MSDS Coordinator:
ATT: MSDS Coordinator
Dick Blick Co.
PO Box 1267
Galesburg, IL 61402-1267
Paint products can become contaminated with bacteria or mold, which can lead to a strong, offensive and in some cases, sickening odor. Paints such as poster paints and temperas that are intended for classroom use, and for children, often contain an organic binder that is subject to degradation if not stored properly, or used within a reasonable period of time.
To guard against bacteria and mold, manufacturers of paint products add preservatives to these products. Diluting the product will decrease the effectiveness of preservatives. Below are some tips on storing paint products to maximize their shelf life:
- Store the product in its original container in a cool, dry place and prevent freezing.
- Date and rotate inventory, always using the oldest stock first.
- Thoroughly shake the product before using.
- Remove only enough paint for immediate use. Never return unused portions to the original container.
- Never dilute the product. The addition of water dilutes the preservative's strength as well as the paint. If diluting paint to simulate watercolor techniques, prepare only enough for immediate use.
- Avoid working directly from the original product container. Do not place brushes, hands, or other objects in the container.
- After each use, make sure the cap is returned tightly and that the product is sealed before storing.
All paints are subject to eventual spoilage once opened and exposed to air and other contaminants. Most spoilage is a result of cross-contamination from common sources such as air, water, people, brushes and other utensils. Proper storage and usage will reduce potential sources of contamination and extend the life of your paint.
If you have a poisoning emergency, call 1-800-222-1222.
If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call 911.
By dialing the above toll-free telephone number, you will be connected to the closest poison control center to your calling location. All poison control centers and emergency room physicians in the U.S. have 24-hour access to toxicological information and generic formulas for products certified by The Art & Creative Materials Institute, Inc. (ACMI) on behalf of its members, including Dick Blick Art Materials.
For additional poison control information:
American Association of Poison Control Centers
3201 New Mexico Avenue, Suite 330
Washington, DC 20016
You can download a printable pdf of this information.