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I have blogged on the InkPour.com website about how dye absorption through the skin is one of the reasons why those working in the industries that use dyes have a higher prevalence of bladder cancer than the general population. In those industries, the unions and the health inspectors ensure safe as possible handling.
Artists do not have health inspectors checking how they work, so they have a responsibility to themselves and their family to use best safety practices. You don't 'catch' cancer by getting dye on your skin today.
You cannot see the effects of gradual poisoning. The accumulative effect of getting dye on your skin will predispose you to get certain types of cancer, and that might take ten years to show up. You won't see the ill effects while you are playing in your art mediums.
Just don't deliberately put known poisons and carcinogens on your skin for the love of art, when you can so easily avoid doing so.
On this subject, I hope no one pours resins or acetone in the house with children breathing the air, or fires a ceramic kiln in the laundry. It's unfortunate that safety instructions are often confined to the small print where art materials are concerned.
Have you experienced unsafe working environments in art studios or art schools?
I recall many silica dust filled ceramic classes and students drinking coffee while working with cadmium glazes.
Art is such a joy; we need to protect ourselves to ensure we have an extended life to enjoy it.
I would love reading your comments on this topic.
Best wishes, and happy creativity to you.
My Australian rural-lit books are available at http://www.rural-lit.com