I have been doing a lot of research in regards to safe practices with encaustics.
A few months ago I had stopped using Turpenoids (odorless turpentine) because I found that even that is toxic. I began to use Gamsol, a much safer and non transdermal medium for oil paints.
However, Sergio's encaustics remained a problem. Luckily, after the workshop we took last week (see previous post) he realized that there are safe ways to utilize the medium he loves.
So, whereas in the past he would concoct a very toxic mix of Beeswax, Damar Varnish and Turpentine, we have now purchased Damar Crystals (straight from the tree, no chemicals) and will soon order encaustic paints. We plan also to mix some traditional oil paints in with the beeswwax, but still, this is not nearly as toxic as "Sergio's Way" (!)
I have also found out how insanely toxic it is to use most dry pigments with my bare hands. Something I have done in the past. I knew that one of the colors I used was indeed Cyanide, but this was before I realized how vulnerable we are to chemicals via our skin.
I can think of too many times where I painted with my hands full of turps and pigment *ugh*
Well, now, as you can see from this photo, we are changing our "ways".
Next, we plan to add an exhaust fan to our studio, we are looking at a "hood" type fan that we can place close to our encaustic table. I found great information on this site.
I hope this may help some of you out there who work in oils & encaustics.,,, and of course: if you have any hints to help our readers, please post a comment below!