A Curious Label

Decorating By howboutbake Updated 23 Feb 2014 , 7:34am by howboutbake

howboutbake Posted 22 Feb 2014 , 10:33pm
post #1 of 5

Hi all, 

 

As I am poor and cannot afford a vast array of petal dusts, and as I am practicing my gumpaste flower skills and nothing more, I have purchased a set of non-toxic chalk pastels with a curious label.   

 

It says,

 

"Conforms to ASTM D-4236. Non-Toxic." 

 

But it also says (in a much larger font),

 

"WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer."

 

hmm. I'm confused.  

 

So I did a very cursory google search and what I read is virtually all art products have harmful and potentially carcinogenic ingredients, such as cadmium and cobalt, but if you want any sort of true red, yellow or blue color, there are few viable alternatives. Determining toxicity is more a matter of concentration of the harmful substance in the product.  

 

Am I on the right path here? 

 

And if that is the case, should we be taking precautions when applying all petal dusts?

 

A little quote I took from the wikipedia page on cadmium poisoning:

 

"Artists who work with cadmium pigments, which are commonly used in strong oranges, reds, and yellows, can easily accidentally ingest dangerous amounts, particularly if they use the pigments in dry form, as with chalk pastels, or in mixing their own paints.'

 

 

I just finished grinding up some chalks and I must say, for the tiny amounts I did, I could feel the chalk in my throat. Perhaps masks are in order, at the very least when grinding these pigments? 

 

 

Can anyone with more knowledge than me about the mystical inner workings of regulatory agencies clarify things for me? 

4 replies
ugcjill Posted 22 Feb 2014 , 11:02pm
post #2 of 5

California has Proposition 65, requiring all materials with known or suspect carcinogens to have that fact specified on the label. Without reading the safety data sheet, I can't tell you which one.

 

The ASTM is for art materials and it's a guideline for acute toxicity - poisoning. It means you would have to ingest a significant amount for it to probably kill you, more than is reasonable for a person to eat.

 

Petal dusts that are approved for use on food do not pose a hazard to the user in typical-use quantities.

howboutbake Posted 22 Feb 2014 , 11:15pm
post #3 of 5

A

Original message sent by ugcjill

The ASTM is for art materials and it's a guideline for acute toxicity - poisoning. It means you would have to ingest a significant amount for it to probably kill you, more than is reasonable for a person to eat.

Petal dusts that are approved for use on food do not pose a hazard to the user in typical-use quantities.

Does the ASTM distinguish between ingestion via swallowing and inhalation? Would the "acceptable" amount differ according to these various routes?

Aren't most petal dusts not approved for use on food?

I'm mostly concerned about myself as I am applying and inhaling this stuff at the same time..not so much for the finished product, which won't be consumed or eaten anyway :-)

ugcjill Posted 23 Feb 2014 , 2:52am
post #4 of 5

AI've never purchased the ASTM to read directly, so I can't answer for the specifics. If you contact the manufacturer or check their website, you can access the data sheet - called the MSDS. It will provide the health information for each product.

If you are ever feeling unsure of a material's safety, a dust mask is a good idea, as well as working in a well ventilated area.

I can not advise you on any specific safety or health information or make any recommendations for what is the acceptable use of any materials. If it was me, personally, just speaking for myself and no one else, I would be cautious but not worried. :)

howboutbake Posted 23 Feb 2014 , 7:34am
post #5 of 5

Thanks! Great info!

 

So, to sum it up, the ASTM assesses/regulates products for acute, short-term toxicity, but not exposure over time?

 

I never really thought of cake decorating as having many occupational hazards (other than complete mental breakdowns at 2 am :-P) but I suppose it goes to show that they are everywhere.  

 

The preview on craftsy for James Rosselle's sugar flowers shows him throwing around that stuff like it's magical fairy dust...that's not gonna be me! :-D

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