I joined this site to read up on, and have some discussion about the health risks of doing basic silversmithing at home. I have some tools from about 20 years ago that I thought I would play around with to see if I enjoyed the work. I had taken a class back then and made a few things, but various things kept me from moving forward with it.
Seven years ago I had uterine cancer, and a few years ago I was diagnosed with a type of liver disease that causes scarring in my liver. Because of that, I don’t even take things like Tylenol because they are bad for the liver. Due to that, I am having to give very strong consideration to whether or not I should try out working with silver, or if I should just sell my tools and move onto something safer for me.
I am not adverse to buying quality fume or dust extractors to reduce my exposure to toxic fumes or dust, but so far I haven’t seen any independent oversight to say these are the standards a person would want to meet to protect themselves.
I don’t plan to do any elaborate methods, I’d just like to work with sheet silver and wire and saw and solder pieces and do some stamping and bezel stone setting. I have also read here and elsewhere how having a studio in your home is not the best idea…right now we’re living in a large house with high ceilings and lots of windows, but come summer it will be 24-7 air conditioning (we’re in Vegas) and I wonder if that won’t recirculate any fumes or dust throughout the house, even with extraction units.
Am I overreacting about potential risks working with silver? I know I can worry too much about health risks given my health issues, but I don’t want to over estimate or under estimate potential hazards.