Remember Mr. Yuk!

Working with metal is exciting and enthralling as a hobby, interest, craft or career. However, many of us get into the rhythm of working and forget about personal safety. As magical as many of the chemicals’ results may be, most can pose health risks when not used properly. Product Safety.com has some excellent advice to keep in mind, before you begin working at the bench:

There are several easy steps to take to promote consumer product safety. First, always read all directions and instructions. Before you use an item, make sure you understand the directions and instructions. Second, read and understand all warnings and cautions. Cautions are typically spelled out pretty explicitly, and are usually accompanied with helpful illustrations. Those instructions are always there to be helpful to the consumer, and they should be followed closely. Also, there are many websites that can be helpful about specific items. (http://www.product-safety.com/healthandsafety.html)

Additionally, here are a few metalsmithing specific tips!

~ Keep a tub of baking soda mixed with water near your pickle pot. Baking soda neutralizes the acidity of pickle, on your piece or your skin. Once the mixture has been tinged blue, then it is time to swap it out for clean water and more unused baking soda!
~ Avoid touching any kind of flux with bare skin, or getting it anywhere on your person. If you do get some flux on your skin, be sure to wash it off with soap and warm water as soon as you get a chance.
~ You will want to investigate your chemical options. For instance, when choosing a flux, Dandix is Fluoride free, which means fewer harmful fumes. Handy flux which does contain fluoride, should be used with increased ventilation. You should evaluate which materials you would like to use and then determine what safety precautions you will need to take after you have made your choice.
~ Plating solutions are very strong chemical combinations, at Seattle Findings we choose to carry Earth Friendly plating solutions to minimize our customers’ exposure to cyanide, which is both very flammable and hazardous.
~ Additionally, choosing cadium and lead free solders is an easy way to eliminate harmful fumes from your soldering and brazing routines.
~ Last but not least, don’t forget to wear your safety glasses/masks/ear protection/rubber gloves when necessary. Remember Mr. Yuk and work safe!

Tune In Next Week for Metals & Patinas on Review!

-Amelia Upton

*Mr. Yuk is trademarked and copyrighted by the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh

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