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Beowulfthehunter

Toxicity of Vallejo paints

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In the past week I have heard from two sources about how Toxic Vallejo paints are. From what I understand the Game color can no longer be sold as "non-toxic." This is leading me to sell off my Game Colors and switch to RMS. The problem is, I still use Model Color which make up majority of my paint. The ones I have (which where bought a few years ago) are labeld Non Toxic. I however do not see this warning on the VMG reds, a color known to cause sickness.

 

I am a brush licker so I am worried.

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I did a little searching and I couldn't find anything but claims that VGC are non-toxic.

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If so, it's another reason to break the brushlicking habit.

Using oils for skin is another reason--they've always been toxic.

Toxic or not, I don't ingest paint.

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Neither one of those lines (Model Color or Game Color) can claim to be "non-toxic". Newer labels for Model Color do not say "non-toxic" (unlike the older ones). And for good reason.

 

For any more detail, ask in a PM or email.

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If I am understanding things correctly - if they are "conforming to the ASTM-D 4236" like they say on their labels - they have to say that it is toxic or contains hazardous material. Not labelling something as 'Non-Toxic' does not in itself imply that there are toxic components. So by saying 'Conforms to ASTM-D 4236' and not listing toxic ingredients they are implying that it is safe. Not that I'd drink the stuff... If they are in fact using chromium and the like then they are in trouble I'd suspect.

 

Here is the link for ASTM-D 4236 for those who want to try and figure out what it means...

 

Edit - I found some more:

 

Provisions of ASTM D 4236 and the Labeling of Hazardous Art Material Act The law requires art material labels to (a) carry a warning statement identifying chronic health hazards, (b) list the ingredients causing those hazards, and © provide directions for safe use of the product. The phrase, “Conforms to ASTM D 4236”, is required as evidence that the guidelines of the standard were followed in the labeling of the product. The evaluation is to be conducted by a board-certified toxicologist, and the product must be reevaluated periodically, at least every five years.

 

Another key piece of information to be found on the label, as directed by the standard, is a source for additional information. This can take the form of a toll free phone number that is reachable 24 hours per day, or directions to contact a poison control center network. Under the Labeling of Hazardous Art Materials Act, it became a requirement for chronically hazardous products to carry the phone number of a person responsible for placing the product on the market.

 

Uniform toxicological evaluation of products was needed to ensure accuracy and consistency. The Labeling of Hazardous Art Materials Act addressed this with a provision directing the CPSC to establish guidelines for determining whether art and craft materials present chronic hazards. It also requires those responsible for putting an art material on the market to provide the CPSC with a written description of the criteria used in determining those hazards, as well as a list of products that require chronic hazard warnings.

 

 

So - if there are bad things in the paint - Vallejo could be in trouble - regardless of dropping the 'non-toxic' label from their newer bottles...

 

If I am mistaken on this - please correct me - I am not claiming to be an expert or anything - it is just how I am reading the legislation...

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The toxicity of a paint shouldn't be an issue unless of course you lick your brushes, drink paint bottles down like water, sniff the stuff, or give it to your two year old to play with. None of which I would recommend doing. Even with RMS paints I wouldn't lick brushes. While RMS are non-toxic, who's to say what's in them won't build up in your system over time? There are a lot of chemicals out there labeled "safe" that are based on reports of short term results from their use with no long term data to show how they might or might not be toxic in the long run with prolonged exposure. How many of you lick your brushes when there is flow improver or retarder in your paint? Probably plenty of you. That stuff is also labeled non-toxic, but much of it has only been tested for short-term exposure. My point here folks is that you need to use your noggin. Anything can be toxic in the right amount over a long enough period of time. Just because a product is missing a label saying it's non-toxic, doesn't mean it's bad to use, just use common sense when handling it.

 

I worked long enough in college in several chemistry labs, have dealt plenty with customers at both my jobs wanting to know toxicity information on products for various reasons, to have gained enough of a knowledge base of the stuff to know that even if that label says, "non-toxic" doesn't mean you want to be injesting it. A good example: Sculpey which so many of us use for various things is labeled non-toxic, meaning that SMALL amounts of it are not supposed to harm you, and normal exposure is not supposed to harm you. However many children each year end up in the hospital because Parents think they can give their two year old a chunk of Sculpey and expect them to not eat it. The children get very ill of course. There is a warning label on some packages of Sculpey stating that it's use requires adult supervision, and it is not meant for food items. The obvious thing here is children aren't being watched and people aren't using common sense when giving this stuff to a two year old.

 

I recently had a woman approach me at Michaels who wanted to know the Toxicity information on some Testor's enamel paints because she wanted to let her five year old use them. So I grabbed a bottle and read her the label. I pointed out to her that the various solvents in the paint are on some level toxic, and that unless she is going to be with her five year old every moment he/she is painting that I really wouldn't be letting a five year old paint with the stuff. I ended up getting her to buy some cheap children's "non-toxic" poster paints. Basically I steered her towards the lesser of the evils. Even those non-toxic poster paints could have some level of toxicity if the child injested a whole bottle, though I would hope at five, the kid wouldn't have the urge to do that.

 

EDIT: I forgot to add something. Every chemical known to man, and every product out there, paint included has something called an MSDS. Otherwise known as the Material Safety Data Sheet. If a customer requests an MSDS from a company, that company is required by law to provide the customer with the MSDS. So what this means for you as consumers is that you can contact Vallejo directly and ask them for an MSDS for their paint which will list it's ingredients and any known toxic compounds. This way you can make an educated decision on it's use. You could also request that Reaper send you one, so you can read the data on the paint additives to make your own decisions in comparison with Vallejo paints.

A good example: If a customer comes into Michaels and asks for an MSDS of a bottle of Folk-Art Craft acrylic paint, color "Thicket," we then call a company that has made a business out of obtaining MSDS for people called 3E incorporated, and they will send us the MSDS for the product by fax or mail, whichever the customer requests. 3E carries the MSDS sheets for practically every chemical and compound known to man.

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All of mine (except the alcohol based metallics) are labeled Non-Toxic...some of which are less than a year old.

 

However if they did change the label on their acrylics, I would guess it would be because "This product contains chemicals which [like everything else including water and air] are known to the [Communist] State of California to cause cancer." They like to strong arm companies when they think they can.

 

As far as the chemicals go - I have tasted nearly every paint I have used (some not on purpose) - and even ones like Mr. Color (which are not labeled as non-toxic) have not caused any damage. Even a full brush full at a time would not get you into the danger zone with any of the chemicals that are used in this hobby (unless you want to include things like brake fluid used to strip minis).

 

If you are really concerned with what might be in the product - call the support number and request an MSDS for them. It will cover everything that is important - in most cases simply state: "This item contains chemical X, however it is only at 30 ppm and in order to cause any harm it needs to be above 1000".

_______________

 

Short aside along these lines. Several years ago - when I was the HAZMAT for our shop in Texas - I got written up during an AFOSH inspection (they are kinda like OSHA...but for the Air Force). The discrepancy? I didn't have an MSDS for that evil vile chemical....water.

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OK, now I'm just going to be blunt and state the answer.

 

There is a huge difference between something which is labelled "non-toxic" being harmful when ingested (since that's not what you are supposed to do with it) and something which used to be labeled as "non-toxic" (and now isn't) which leaves residue on the palette that is technically considered toxic waste.

 

Vallejo Model Color reds and yellows are based on Cadmium Red and Cadmium Yellow as the pigment. I've done the elemental analysis. End of story, Done, Game Over Man. There's a huge difference between "don't eat your paint" and paint with heavy metal pigments which can be absorbed through the skin. There's a reason so many artists in the past used to go nuts - heavy metal poisoning from the pigments.

 

As for the "hasn't caused any damage" - the answer for you is "YET". Most of the heavy metals are cummulative poisons. They keep building up until the effects do show up.

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Basically, there is some concern over Cadmium/Mercury combos in the paints that are at a "toxic" level. I put mine in a box away. I will not be using Vallejo any more. The levels found in the paint may be responsible for causing cancers. Vallejo has been forthcoming in the cases though nothing has been made officially public yet from what I understand. If you are "in the know" you'll know what I'm talking about.

 

I think there is still some question. Vallejo is still wanting other things to be checked out in the medical cases that have come up. Though it sounds like they are trying to place blame elsewhere. We'll see what happens but until they've either been cleared or not I would suggest not using them. I do still lick my brush but I do not use VGC any more. I even told a client I was going to have to find an alternative color to paint his army up . . . yes I'm helping paint an army and VGC Royal Purple was the main army color.

 

I would recommend switching to another paint. I do believe Reaper, GW and P3 have been cleared by the doctors.

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This doesn't make sense.

 

Most of the historical painters at MMSI use oils with cadmium, cobalt, etc. and they don't seem to be less sane than the general populace. With all due respect, these guys have been painting with oils and solvents for decades and have lived to a ripe old age and seem to be healthy.

 

Every tube of oil paint in the art store probably has something harmful in it, but you don't see fine artists switching to non-toxic paints.

 

I'm pro-Reaper but there seems to be an unwarranted thread of panic here that's unfair to Vallejo.

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So, for those of us who don't lick our brushes (ew. that's just gross! ::P: ), and generally don't get any paint on our skin while painting ... what are the dangers?

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Almost every in-organic paint pigment is a known/suspected carcinogen...and the better half of them happen to be heavy metals.

 

Most in organic paint pigments are suspected to be toxic in one way or another by one health/saftey group or another.

 

One of the most common pigments used in everything from food to paints to makeup - titanium dioxide is a suspected carcinogen (IARC).

 

Now, I have heard of only a single instance of someone who might have developed cancer at a young age because of exposure to paints...maybe. However with the large number of things that might cause cancers, and the small ammount we know about cancers...I am not too worried about that. My more immediate concerns are with organic solvents, and things I know for a fact will kill you quick.

 

I am not trying to make light of someones situation, but I am not one to jump on the evil chemical wagon because of a potential fluke. Other than that single case...I am unaware of any other situation which can even be remotely connected to Vallejo (or any other paint for that matter).

 

As far as past artists going crazy...I would have to see the autopsy to concurr. Remember - they also consumed the Green Fairy by the gallon, used fun paint thinners like benzene, chased the White Dragon, and generally had poor medical care. Or perhaps they were just a little bit crazy to start with. Now people who are exposed to chemicals day in and day out (factory workers...the real mad hatters...) - sure, they probably suffered from chemical exposure. Me and my paints? Not so much.

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I personally don't understand putting brushes INSIDE one's mouth to get a tip...there are other ways to do that that do not involve ingesting paint (no matter how small amount it is). I agree with Enchantra on this: while short term effects may be benign enough, what happens if you spend a lifetime licking brushes? Don't know? I'd rather not take that risk.

 

My other hobby is model building, and in that hobby I deal at times with some serious solvents (like the MEK in Testors liquid cement, or Trichloromethane in Plastruct's PLastic Weld, or back in the day when I airbrushed laquers). This has also imbued me with a pretty healthy respect for the materials I use in my hobbies.

 

Damon.

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Seems like a little brush licking of a paint labeled "non toxic" should pale in comparison to breathing fumes from spray primer and varnish that most of us use.

 

Sufficient quantities of anything, including those labeled "non-toxic", can be deadly. Even dihydrous monoxide is pretty darn deadly when ingested in sufficient quantities.

 

Ron

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