In learning to live a less toxic lifestyle, one area I’ve always wanted to focus on is making art. I studied visual arts in university and painting was my therapy and primary mode of expression. Yet, since becoming more sensitive to the chemicals found in most paints, I’ve been challenged to find less toxic art media. Nowadays, I mostly use the computer and pencil crayons as creative tools.
The good news regarding materials is for many art forms such as printmaking, photography and painting, the day of reckoning has arrived. We now know that the chemicals used to create art are also extreme health hazards. Often as a result of becoming ill, many creative people are at the forefront of racking their brains in order to come up with non-toxic methods of creating these and other arts.
Of major concern today is exposure of developing brains to chemicals found in arts and craft supplies. Yet, for sensitive individuals and those who just don’t want to use such toxic materials because of their poisonous make-up, looking for materials that are labeled as safe for children may be the way to go.
Products tested “safe for children” are less likely to be toxic and may be a good option for teens and adults as well.
I came across a document written by California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. In this document, they offer guidelines and give ideas for safer alternatives. It’s aimed at schools but anyone would benefit from taking a look at the guide here.
The same organization has prepared a list of arts and crafts products that can NOT be purchased for grades K-6. I noticed that these products bear a CL designation while their safe counterparts bore an AP designation. These led me to a great web site and tool.
What Does AP Mean on an Arts and Crafts Product and Who is Certifiying?
The Art & Creative Materials Institute, Inc. (ACMI) is an international association, composed of a diverse and involved membership, and is recognized as the leading authority on art and creative materials. They’re the group that’s come up with the safety seals for arts and crafts materials.
Read more about their seals here.
To search products or download their entire list of certified products, go here.
More links to other web sites with information on choosing non-toxic supplies.
Creative Canaries on Safer Arts
The Washington Toxics Coalition on How to Choose Safer Arts/Crafts Products for Kids