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Safety &
Disposal

Your safety and health are extremely important to us. We were one of the first companies to list health and safety information on paint labels and to identify colors by chemical name as well as by international color standards.

We continue to independently test our products and evolve our formulas as safer materials become available to use. From replacements for cadmium pigments to advice on how to keep safe in the studio, our dedicated health and safety compliance team put your needs first.

Safety testing & labeling

All Liquitex products are submitted for independent toxicity assessment under the program administered by the Art and Craft Materials Institute (ACMI) in Boston and conform to USA Federal Law governing the labeling of art materials. All of our products carry the relevant ACMI certification seals on their packaging - these are either CL or AP Seals. You can also find Materials Safety Data Sheets for each product on the relevant product pages of this site.

Approved Product Seal

Products bearing the ACMI's Approved Product Seal are certified in a program of toxicological evaluation by a medical expert to contain no materials in sufficient quantities to pose a health risk or to be deemed injurious in accordance with current medical knowledge and as long as the materials are used in the manner intended. This program is reviewed by the Institute’s Toxicological Advisory Board and products are certified by the Institute to be labeled in accordance with the chronic hazard labeling standard ASTM D4236, and the US Labeling of Hazardous Art Materials Act (LHAMA).

Cautionary Label Seal

The ACMI's CL Seal identifies products that are certified to be properly labeled in a program of toxicological evaluation by a medical expert for any known health risks and with information on the safe and proper use of these materials. This seal replaces the old HL Health Label (Cautions Required) Seal. These products are also certified by ACMI to be labeled in accordance with the chronic hazard labeling standard, ASTM D4236, and the US Labeling of Hazardous Art Materials Act (LHAMA).

EU Legislation

These regulations, introduced in the 1960’s, cover all products available to the industry or the general public within the EU. This system classifies dangerous substances into one of the following classifications: TOXIC, HARMFUL, CORROSIVE, IRRITANT, OXIDISING, EXPLOSIVE, FLAMMABLE or DANGEROUS FOR THE ENVIRONMENT. There can be various levels within a classification, for example, Very Toxic or Extremely Flammable. Most levels of classification have accompanying symbols and “Risk Phrases” and/or “Safety Phrases”. Any artists’ material, which falls into one of the above classifications, must be labeled accordingly. The two most common classifications in artists’ materials are Harmful and Flammable. The risk and/or safety phrases will vary according to each product.
There is no direct relationship between the EU and USA systems of health labeling as the categories used have different levels and limits, eg., Flammable in the USA is not automatically considered as Flammable in the EU. USA ONLY labels may appear on products in the EU as Liquitex products are sold internationally. However, artists in the EU are advised to follow EU labeling.

Labeling for California: Proposition 65

This is the common name for California’s Safe Drinking Water & Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 which is intended to prevent anyone from discharging materials that are known to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity, and that could contaminate drinking water. After consulting with the Art and Creative Materials Institute, we know that any exposure to our products is below the levels of risk as defined by Proposition 65. However it was decided that any product containing any element considered hazardous under Proposition 65 must be labeled accordingly. As a result, artists’ colors containing cadmium and lead are required to have special labeling. Therefore you will find warning messages on our cadmium-containing colors reading: 'Do Not Spray Apply. This product contains cadmium, a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer by means of inhalation.'

Safe studio tips

Here’s some tips to keep you safe and minimize your environmental impact in the studio:

While you're working

  • Keep your workspace well ventilated, ideally with fresh air, particularly if using solvent or sprays
  • If using a spray, wear the relevant mask. Even with our low-solvent, low-odor Spray Paints we recommend the use of a paper mask as the spray action causes dust and particles to rise into the air
  • The most environmentally safe way to use acrylic paint or medium is obvious: only squeeze or scoop out what you need, rather than having lots to dispose of after a session in the studio
  • Don’t ‘point’ your brush in your mouth. Swirl it in a cup of water instead
  • Try to wash your hands before eating, drinking or smoking in the studio. You never know what will end up on your hands and then get swallowed inadvertently
  • Avoid getting solvents onto your skin
  • If you paint with your fingers be aware that you may be driving pigment into and through your skin

Clean-up

  • If you’re working with acrylics it’s a good idea to set up a specific acrylic waste bin (or old paint tin) in the studio so you can keep everything together and dispose of it safely and responsibly
  • After painting, before it’s had a chance to dry, return any loose color/medium back into its container and then wipe off your tools and palette with a paper towel or rag (an old toothbrush is good for thicker consistencies). Put the dirty wipes into your acrylic waste bin

  • Any leftover paint or paint sludge (from the bottom of the sink or your brush washing jar), should be put into your acrylic waste bin rather than washed down the sink
  • Wash your tools, palette and hands thoroughly in warm soapy water. Don’t wash or rinse brushes in the palm of your hand, as it can drive pigment into the skin

Disposal

  • Once your acrylic waste bin is full, seal it up and affix a big sticker saying 'contains artists’ paints'. Then take it to your local refuse recycling center where you’ll find an area specifically for paints, bitumen and creosotes. If in doubt ask a member of staff
  • Empty containers with minimal semi-dry acrylic residue are sufficiently chemically inert to be classified as ‘non-hazardous waste’. This can usually be disposed of with your regular household waste. If in doubt check with your local waste management office

Storage

  • Keep your lids on tight to avoid drying out
  • You’ll get the best seal if you keep the screw top threads clean. Some artists like to also use a layer of cling-film or silver foil Keep products out of direct heat and sunlight and store in ‘normal’ temperatures – ie above 10°F/-12°C to prevent non-reversible crystallization
  • Store brushes lying down or standing with bristles up
  • Our products have a shelf life of 5-7 years if kept at room temperature, tightly lidded and free of contaminants from tap water or dirty tools

Spray Paint & spray varnish

  • Our Spray Paint is low solvent but still contains propellants, as do our different spray varnishes. Therefore, keep your space well ventilated and - as they are low odor and non-toxic - all you need is a paper mask to protect you from inhaling paint particles and dust. Regular solvent-based sprays require a proper ant-fume mask that straps on tightly and covers your nose and mouth
  • Read the storage and safety guidance on the label. Do not spray on an open flame and do not pierce or burn, even after use
  • Make sure you store your cans with lids on, away from direct heat sources and sunlight and do not expose to temperatures over 122°F/50°C or below 59°F /15°C. If they have been stored around this temperature, do not use them until they come up to ambient again. All aerosols contain a mix of product and propellant; at lower temperatures the product wants to "drop out of solution" and so could either block the nozzle, or worse, come out of the nozzle in irregular blobs 

Tips & Techniques

Useful guides for working with acrylics