Many students use our pottery every day, inevitably spilling small amounts of clay slop and glaze as they work. If not cleaned up, these quickly dry to become floor dust, which easily stirs into the air as people walk around the studio. The dust particles are tiny and not really visible, but the free silica in our clay and the metal oxides in glazes can still be toxic when inhaled over time. These particles can also settle on uncovered food, plates, and drink containers left in the pottery, creating an ingestion risk.
The following precautions will help mitigate health risks, but if you have a specific health concern related to your work in the pottery, you should consult with your doctor.
The most important contribution you can make to a healthy environment at the pottery is to help us maintain a clean and organized studio.
- Sponge down your wheel and work table, and wash your splash pan in the sink each day.
- Wet-clean the floor where you have worked either with a mop or sponge, removing clay drips and/or trimmings. Never sweep clay with a broom, it lifts clay dust into the air.
- Wash your storage boards and bats before returning them to storage,
- Clean glaze tools and stirring sticks before returning them to the rack.
- Sponge up any spilled or splashed glaze.
- If you are carving or sanding bone-dry ware, bisqued or glazed ware, please take it outside, regardless of the weather.
- Do not eat in the glaze area.
- Wash any drink containers, plates, or utensils before use.
- Wash you hands often, especially after glazing.
- If your hands have open cuts, wear latex gloves while glazing.