Studio Art instructors are responsible not only for their own health, but also for the health of the students they work with or hire and for other occupants working throughout Williams Hall.
Chemical Routes of Exposure
Chemicals can enter the body through the lungs (inhalation), skin (permeation), digestive tract (ingestion) or by being punctured (injection). Kinetic hazards are repetitive motions that can stress the body, whether from extended sessions of hammering on metal or from long hours making digital design on a computer. Artists should also protect their hearing from loud tools, machines, or processes.
The level of toxicity, the length of exposure, the age of the artist, and his or her general health can all affect how any one individual may react to any health hazard. Immediate (acute) and severe hazards are usually quickly identified. However, chromic hazards, such as those that develop due to a long-term exposure to low levels of dust, noise, and certain solvents or chemicals, may produce symptoms of mild but chronic headaches, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, coughing, hearing loss, organ dysfunction, or skin irritation.
UVM recommends that artists learn the potential hazards of all their materials and processes and be mindful of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) labels and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for any supplies used to produce works of art.
Commit To Sustainability
Artists should incorporate sustainable practices into all art production and education. Sustainability goes beyond the health of the participant to include supporting the health of the planet. Artists and educators should be aware of issues of energy input, environmental burden, carbon footprint, and life-cycle analyses related to the materials and processes in the production, use, and disposal of materials employed in their work. UVM recommends that the art world make a continuing effort to minimize its contribution to pollution and waste, implementing sustainable practices whenever possible. Increased recycling, lowered volatile organic compound (VOC) production, local and regional sourcing of materials, and reduced used of petroleum-based materials are all starting points.
Labeling of Art Materials