Clays are minerals composed of hydrated aluminum silicates, silicon dust is categorized as a hazardous substance to health. Inhalation of large amounts of free silica can cause silicosis. Symptoms include breathlessness, coughing, emphysema, and other lung infections such as tuberculosis. It may take some years to develop the sickness without immediate effect. Therefore, dust should be avoided or minimized in the studio. (source: https://ehs.princeton.edu/health-safety-the-campus-community/art-theater-safety/art-safety/ceramics)
When handling ceramic materials,
1/ Always Avoid Dust in Studio
- Cleaning work surfaces, tools, and equipment after work: Wipe down with wet sponges and wash off the clay.
- Cleaning floor areas: Wash down with a wet mop and bucket. Dry sweeping in ceramic areas is prohibited since it will create clouds of dust.
- All containers or bags: MUST be covered when not in use.
2/ Personal Hygiene
- Eating food in the studio is not allowed.
- Apron, clothing, and towel contaminated with clay or dust should be washed regularly to reduce excessive build-up.
- Ones should always wash their hands at the end of a workday.
3/ Personal Protection
- Always wear proper masks (and dust safety gogglesif needed to) if working with dry materials such as mixing clay, pottery carving, dust allergies..etc.
- Wear plastic gloves if with worn or very dry skin...etc.
However, please always follow your studio guidelines and health & safety instructions. If any doubt, don't do it. Consult first!