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Safety -- Make sure you are safe!

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  #1  
Old 2015-08-27, 9:46am
JimW JimW is offline
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Default Beadmaking hazards

I have to admit. After reading everything in this safety thread about ventilation, I started to become too scared to sit at the torch.
You would think we are working with some kind of biological hazards or considerable airborne heavy metal production from the glass or colorants.

It's funny how information you tried and tried to find just appears one day.
And so it is with the hazards produced by making beads.

I found a 1998 report from the society of Glass Beadmakers that was prepared by the Hazard Evaluations & Technical Assistance Branch of the National Institute for Occupational Health & Safety (NOISH).
http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/hhe/reports...-0139-2769.pdf

They had this group evaluate a hazards specific to glass beadmaking. Exactly the information I wanted.
I love facts, science and data!

In Summary, they tested:
Air samples for metals, total particulates, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
Samples of bead release and glass
Hand wipes were collected before and after demonstrations to look for trace metals
Optical radiation
UV radiation
Infrared Radiation
Facial temperatures

In summary, they found:
No measurable amount of total particles in the air
Bead release is clay based
Area samples of beadmakers exposure to metals & VOCs were very low.
IR radiation can occur form torches, kilns and handling heated material
Exposure to high IR can occur when working close to an oven
UV radiation levels were below occupation exposure limits.

Delving deeper:
The VOCs they detected could have been caused by cleaning products used at the hotel.
They detected very low levels of some metals (from non mesaurable to 2 micrograms/cubic meter. ALL were well below occupational limits. Not hobby limits, occupational limits.

The major concerns:
Eye protection from UV
Eye protection from broken glass
Ergonomics (use those arm rests and a well adjusted seat)
Heat resistant gloves when working with kilns
ventilation for torch combustion products
Wash your hands occasionally (however, the wipe tests were the same before and after a demonstration)
Keep children away from the home studio (burns, glass, hazards)

So there. From the people who evaluate hazards for a living.
It turns out you don't really need massive CFM, high velocity, multiple room air changes, loud fans, etc, etc.

I am in no way advocating doing away with ventilation safety. Especially if you work in a closed room or basement.
What I am saying is that, according to NOISH (experts) glass beadmaking releases no health hazards into the air.
Torch combustion products, from an Alpha or Minor is very minimal and an open window should do nicely.

PROTECT YOUR EYES! Use didydium, Ace 202, use some kind of UV filter (most good prescription glasses have UV coatings)

For me, I am about to return to the quiet, peaceful, creative zen that I love about this art form.
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  #2  
Old 2015-08-27, 10:55am
Talonst Talonst is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimW View Post
So there. From the people who evaluate hazards for a living.
It turns out you don't really need massive CFM, high velocity, multiple room air changes, loud fans, etc, etc.

I am in no way advocating doing away with ventilation safety. Especially if you work in a closed room or basement.
What I am saying is that, according to NOISH (experts) glass beadmaking releases no health hazards into the air.
Torch combustion products, from an Alpha or Minor is very minimal and an open window should do nicely.
Contradictory statements aren't they?

Active ventilation is MANDATORY while working with a torch. Combustion products rise in the air, propane will collect on the floor. To have a safe atmosphere toxins have to be removed at least as fast as they pollute the air - an open window or door may not be enough. Remember that problems occur from cumulative exposure - a little day after day. And what if there was a propane leak from a break in a line or a bad connection or fitting? Good ventilation might save the day. So it's not just about what's being released from the glass as you work it in the flame.

People have died from fuming metals without enough ventilation. If you're using silver glasses you're fuming to some extent, so those metals are in the air probably close to your face in the turbulent mix of air and heat generated from putting the glass and mandrel in the torch flame.

Bead release, fiber blankets and frits all create dust - don't want to breathe any of that stuff either.

To downplay the hazards of lampworking and the importance of active ventilation is dangerous. Better to have a large fan and too much air flow than not enough. Whether it's loud or not has to do with where you put the fan and how the system is designed.
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  #3  
Old 2015-08-27, 11:59am
JimW JimW is offline
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Not at all contradictory.

I'm not telling anyone what to do and if you work in a closed room, you MUST have ventilation.

In fact, Just to be clear:
NIOSH recommends local ventilation for combustion products. Period.

I'm not trying to downplay safety but you have to deal with facts and actual safety concerns.

What I'm saying is that, according to experts in the field, people who are so safety conscious that they recommend hot gloves to work with kilns (and who does this?) the hazards you are exposed to while making glass beads are below the occupational exposure limits, with the possible exception of UV and IR exposure, especially with boro.
I also want to point out they mention luminanace levels being highest when working with 24-carat gold. So they were working with metals and there was no detectable metals in the air. Good to know.
Thus, high capacity ventilation is not necessary.

And now, after educating myself on the actual hazards produced by this hobby during the torching process I plan on greatly reducing the airflow of my funnels.
I'm keeping them, but all I want is a very gentle, you can't even hear it, suction to pull out some of the CO and the tiny bit of NO produced. My flame shoots straight into the vacuum opening and it will carry away the gases.

That's my overall point.
Educate yourself to the hazards you face and take appropriate precautions.
Bigger is better, better safe than sorry, etc is when you have no idea what you're dealing with.
Thanks to this work, we know exactly what to protect ourselves from and can make intelligent, informed safety decisions. Based on measurement and science.

MOST IMPORTANT!!!!.... DO WHAT YOU FEEL IS NECESSARY TO BE SAFE!
DON"T LISTEN TO ME, I"M NOT AN EXPERT ON LAMPWORK HAZARDS.
I'm relying on the advise of experts. That's my choice.
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  #4  
Old 2015-08-27, 6:30pm
LarryC LarryC is offline
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Ummm. Yeah. Torch combustion products are reason enough, in my educated opinion, to have aggressive ventilation. Fuming, silver and gold bearing colors, etc. are all still an unknown based on this report.
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  #5  
Old 2015-08-27, 7:06pm
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menty666 menty666 is offline
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I love the internet, you can cherry pick the information that either supports or disproves your cause du jour.

I'm glad you feel better, get out there and torch....with adequate ventilation for the space you're working in.

There are some simple rules that makes what amounts to an industrial craft safer:

* Use ventilation with adequate make up air. Adequate will vary according to YOUR working area.

* Wash your hands after you finish to get particulates off your hands: glass dust, bead release, metals.

* Wear eye protection. For most soft glass, the Didy/ACE lenses are just fine. Blue eyed folks tend to like a little more protection because blue eyes tend to be more sensitive. I work boro and wear full coverage shade 5 lenses and I've still managed to get a radiant burn on my eyeballs. I've been at this for over 7 years now and know better and it still occasionally happens.

Also, heavy metal build up in the body is cumulative. So just because you were working with silver glass, foils, or fuming one day and you feel just fine, if you weren't working under your adequately sized vent, there's a good chance you may have inhaled some.

What we do boils down to "managed risk" I have a mid-range torch and it still makes a 4 foot plume of flame that I happily have my hands 3" from on either side. I can do this because I've taken precautions and steps to make the activity as safe as I can and I continue to be safety aware.
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  #6  
Old 2015-08-28, 1:32am
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If you are comfortable with what you have researched and feel that you have a safe system that is good enough for me.

When you open a thread of conversation about the safety of the system you have set up then you are going to get opinions from others about what you have asked.

Unfortunately those opinions are also going to be all over the map based on what ever experience the folks replying have had.
And the most honest ones will actually have two or three opinions and even those won't always mesh together well.

I will point out a few things from reading the article you found.

First off; good score on finding that one.
I didn't find it or anything like it when I went looking some years back.
For some of us research is not a major skill.

Ok. From what I read the ISGB asked them to conduct a study on the hazards of the light produced while making beads at a Gathering in a hotel ballroom. They also took some samples of the air and took some samples of the hands of six or eight of the bead makers working at the torches.

Here comes another one of those opinions;
This was not a NIOSH study of possible contaminates from working with molten glass on a regular basis.
It was also not a study of the hazards of working with molten glass without "adequate ventilation".
They point out in the conclusion that "adequate ventilation" is required but they make not even an attempt to define it.

The next thing that comes to mind is the table of references lists 11 different studies with the words "glass work" and "cancer" in the titles.
I have not read the references and most likely will not ever get around to reading them.
But the fact that someone conducted the studies and that they were important enough to get cited in a NIOSH report does give me cause to double check that my ventilation system is as good as I think it is.

I did find this statement that gave me some concern;

Page 9 of the pdf (page 4 of the article) Chemical Exposure ;
"Epidemiological studies have indicated that industrial art glass workers have increased mortality risks for certain types of cancer (stomach, colon, lung, skin, and brain) and for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease.11,12,13,14,15,16,17 The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined that the manufacture of art glass entails exposures that are probably carcinogenic to humans.18 Glass blowing is one major occupation in the art glass industry which shows an increased cancer risk, possibly because the blow pipe introduces the potential for oral exposure.19"

I think the blow pipe comment is just a little out there as the distance between bower and hot glass on the pipe probably has less to do with it than being in a building with several tons of molten glass cooking away and not having a strict air separation system does but that is again one of those opinions.


No one is ever going to call the ventilation police on anyone and the worst that can really happen is that someone might throw a bunch of exclamation marks at you.

And please understand that I am not saying you are doing it wrong if I happen to disagree with how much is enough.
Only you get to make that decision and anyone who thinks other wise is either fooling themselves or is married to you and we won't go there.

I would love to see someone do a "wipe test and spectrograph" of the inside of the ductwork at the far end of an established lampworkers ventilation system. Preferably someone that torches 6 to 8 hours a day 4 days a week for a half dozen years or more.

Happy torching Jim.

Try not to spend all your money all in one place unless you are buying silver glass or Rubino Oro. Precious metals get more expensive every time you turn around it seems.


Welcome to the addiction.
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Last edited by Speedslug; 2015-08-28 at 1:42am.
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  #7  
Old 2015-08-28, 5:42am
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yellowbird yellowbird is offline
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So how do I know that I don't know the answer?


I thought I knew the answer.

But fortunately someone who did know the answer helped me to understand my mistake and I left really knowing the answer.

Until someone else helped me to understand that both of those answers were wrong.

And then I sailed off the edge of the earth and was eaten by a dragon and that old map was correct after all but since I was dead I could not tell anyone about it. Phill
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  #8  
Old 2015-08-28, 8:09am
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I tested a running torch (Minor) with no ventilation with an NO2 detector and it was at dangerous levels within 15 minutes. I turned on my ventation and it was back down to undetectable levels within 10 minutes or so. I think your statement is quite irresponsible.
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  #9  
Old 2015-08-28, 8:20am
JimW JimW is offline
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All is good!
everyone do what they are comfortable with.

I want to protect me and my wife from hazards. I do it all the time, proactively, even.

I just need to know what the hazard is. That's all. So I can now what precautions are necessary and take appropriate, allowing for a bit "extra" just in case. actions.
I would recommend the same.

And as a former safety custodian of our labs radiation calibration source in the Army, I understand cumulative exposure.
At my current job, running a calibration lab, I'm the division safety officer. We do safety training every month on things like mercury spills, HV safety, PPE gear.... and oh' yea' "lift with your legs, not your back" lol.

I love this art and I want the most joy and peaceful "zen" I can get out of it.
While living long enough to enjoy it well into retirement.

And thanks to all the posters on all the threads. You folks are a wealth of information.
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  #10  
Old 2015-08-28, 9:59am
LarryC LarryC is offline
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Realize that the link to that report will most likely break in the near future as things are archived and moved around. This thread will survive for the lifetime of the forum which means people will only have the comments to use for guidance at some point.
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  #11  
Old 2015-08-28, 4:16pm
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Yup.
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