The creative spirit requires the freedom to come and go at will, according to its muse. But what of the artistic materials it leaves behind in the studio? Paints, glazes and potentially hazardous chemicals require management, just as they do in any other department of the university. Don't just pour them down the drain! Turpentine and oil paints may be hazardous because they are flammable. Some paints, such as chromium yellow, contain heavy metals and therefore they can be toxic as well as flammable.
Depending on the contents of your facility's aerosol cans, or depending on the nature of your paint materials, air emissions (e.g., VOC limits), hazardous substance reporting, or hazardous waste generator requirements may apply to your facility. For example, with respect to aerosol cans: depleting the propellant in an aerosol can may result in contents remaining in the can, which may be hazardous waste. If the nozzle of an aerosol can is broken or clogged and can no longer be used, then the can remains under pressure, rendering the can a hazardous waste. If the can is empty of both propellant and contents, then the can is truly empty and non-hazardous.
Whether or not you're responsible for the studio, it's not a bad idea to bring environmental, health and safety issues to the attention of the person in charge. Some of these issues may include:
- Storing and disposing of such waste materials as paints, thinners, glazes and solvents
- Informing users of the dangers inherent in these materials
- Determining what can safely be washed in the studio sink
Click through this section to learn more about environmental laws, regulations and best practices associated with paints and glazes.