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Bench jewelers and asthma

Hi, my name is Tara… I’m new to this so please bear with me. I’ve
been a bench jeweler now for 2 years and was diagnosed with asthma
about the same time. I’m working with my Dr. to try and pin point
what its stemming from and how to control it. I love my job, but
strongly feel it is the cause of my asthma. I’d appreciate any
or suggestions, maybe books available…anything you could
offer that might be related. Thank you!


The obvious things to think about are the micro particles we inhale
while using various pumice and silicone wheels to clean up our work
and second the dust from polishing at the bench or at the buffing
machine. Don’t forget the dissolved particles of “rock” in the vapor
from the steamer unless you use soft or distilled water in the unit. I
had a skin problem from the vapor in the air that evaporated from the
ultrasonic solution I was using. Good luck figuring it out. If you
were away from the job for a week or more and your symptoms improve it
would be proof that it is involved with your bench job. At least you
should wear a mask to protect your lungs. I sincerely hope you get
well. Patty Rios

Tara–Have you seen The Jewelry Workshop Safety Report by Charles
Lewton-Brain? A section of the book is devoted to asthma causing
materials. Good luck! Judith

Hi Tara, this is Tara as well! I do have some problems similar to
you, I don’t have asthma as in the traditional sense, but my throat
will close up due to allergies. When this happens I have to use a
huffer (like used for asthma) I am also pinpointing the cause, so far
what we have figured out is that my problems seem to be caused by
sulfates. It is in drywall compound (maybe investment?) as well as a
cleaning solution and preservative for U-Brew wines. I always have my
husband mix my investment for casting, and forgo all wine (Which is
OK, because if it were beer that would really be a hardship!)

So, if anyone else has more on this topic that would
really be great because I don’t even know what sulfates are except
that we don’t get along!

Thanks a lot! Tara Blokzyl in Beautiful BC, Canada P.S. Thanks to all
those who sent in info on setting princess cut diamonds a while back,
I ended up sending it out to a fabulous setter and was really happy
that I didn’t try learning on a 3/4 ct. but I think I should try on
some cubics first!


I too have asthma and my doctor told me to get a venting system like
woodworkers use in a cabinet shop. It is quite effective in removing
the culprits. Everyone with asthma has their own particular "thing"
that sets them in a spin. My Dr. (an asthma specialist) gives me
Singulair which is WONDERFUL and the use of the venting system has
helped immensely.

Good luck!
Susie Morgan