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Headaches in smaller working areas?

Hey There…Has anyone submitted complaints of headaches in smaller
working areas? Although adequately ventilated, it seems full carbon
face mask must be worn now after 25 years of bench work. Reply
Greatly appreciated. Regards., Reg.

Hi Reg Have checked to see if something has spilled behind or
underneath your benches. I had a friend that had batteries in a
portable radio at the back of his bench leak down the back of the
bench. Took them awhile to figure out what went wrong.

Also have your eyes checked as you may require glasses or a new
prescription. Watch your lighting as most of the goldsmiths I have
met and seen their benches had poor lighting. The lighting becomes
more important as your eyes age, especially with all the close-up
work you do.

Karen Seidel-Bahr the Rocklady
May your Gems always “Sparkle”

Reg, I know of a bench jeweler who retired from the field after
working in one of those fishbowl windows at a mall store. He ended
up with some horrible symptoms from inadequate ventilation. Please
do be careful! --Kat Tanaka

Reg, One thing you might check after years of working in a small area
is for accumulated toxins. Walls, flooring, and furniture all can
accumulate minor amounts of toxins that in total can be causing your
physical symptoms. Ventilation by itself will not cure the problem. A
total stripping of the room may be necessary. Some environmental
assessment services can measure the contamination. It will be

Gerry Galarneau

May I also suggest another cause? Occasionally I used to get so
wrapped up in what I am doing that I would forget to drink (and eat)
for the whole day, and pay for it dearly soon after with a blinding
headache. Hence I would suggest that one drink plenty of water during
the day. It has worked for me. Perhaps it’s just the break that does
the trick.

David P

one of the best things I did was invest in an air conditioner for my
"shop". It’s not an airconditioner that cools the air but one that
adds ions and ozone. The ozone makes the particulates (dust) heavy so
that it drops to the ground rather then floating around going up your
nostrils and into your lungs. the ions keep things balanced, you know
like just after a thunderstorm when the air smells so good and you
can breath again. If you’re interested you can contact me off list
and I’ll give you the details. Lisa at @gnmhllw

Another reason for headache: working with your head in attention to
your work: the neck (is it called like that? I mean that what keeps
your head and body together) has an angle and that always gives me
headache, also when I am working on my computer. Straighten your back
and neck and raise your head from time to time, stretch it carefully
and it will prevent you from headache and further damage. Won’t do
any harm to try! Good luck with it,

Marleen B.Berg, Maastricht, the Netherlands.

Its not the lack of food or liquids that bother me, its being a
hypo-glycemic.This similar to being a diabetic, WATCH OUT FOR THE

This can be quite dangerous, if left totally unattended you could
pass out. Passing out is Natures way of re-establishing the blood
sugar ratings, and telling you to look after yourself!!! Constantly
drink liquids, slurp here and a slurp there, to restore the pH level
and keep that little stomach filled with something of nutrient value.
No direct regular foods? have an orange (normal sugars). don’t go for
a long time with out any sugars, headaches, hand shaking,
irritability, and the other fun stuff!..E.A.T…D.R.I.N.K…!
! “Gerry, the cyber-setter !”

Hello Orchidians, At the risk of offending someone, I do feel
compelled to make a comment and refer you to a website discussing
air cleaners. For those suffering from a lung condition, ozone is a

    one of the best things I did was invest in an air conditioner
for my "shop". It's not an airconditioner that cools the air but
one that adds ions and ozone. The ozone makes the particulates
(dust) heavy so that it drops to the ground rather then floating
around going up your nostrils and into your lungs. 

Ozone (three atoms of Oxygen bonded together) is actually an
irritant and can be a real health problem for people with asthema
and other lung conditions. Ozone is a key component of urban smog.
Adding ozone to one’s environment is not a good idea. Here is an
EPA website reporting on residential air cleaners:

According to the report, some ozone generators are manufactured with
an “ion generator” in the same unit - sounds like the one described
in the original posting. The ions are dispersed and attach to
particles in the air so that they have a positve or negative charge.
This charged particle is attracted to nearby surfaces (walls,
furniture) or to each other. Multiple particles clinging together
do settle out.

Research indicates that a more effective method of removing
particles from the air is a high efficiency particle filter (HEPA
filter) or electrostatic percititator.

OK, said my piece; soapbox gone. Just don’t want someone to invest
in a piece of equipment that might cause them additional problems.
Judy in Kansas

Judy M. Willingham, R.S.
Biological and Agricultural Engineering
237 Seaton Hall
Kansas State University
Manhattan KS 66506
(785) 532-2936

I discovered that fluorescent lighting can be a source of headaches.
So can the tensed muscles of our shoulders and neck when we are
hunching over our work at the bench. And of course, the fumes from
pickle, flux, solder, acids, and other chemicals. Add to it
possible mold, dirty filters in air conditioners, inadequate water
or fluid intake, stress, sound, and undiagnosed medical conditions.
We can also suspect side effects from medicine, lack of inadequate
oxygen, or ‘sick building syndrome’’. Low or high blood sugar,
vision or eye problems, food allergies,

I have had to track each of these possibilities and found that I had
quite a surprising number of possible causes in my studio and in my
life. None of them should be taken lightly, or dismissed as a
potential cause…

Good luck with finding the solution…


my fantasy and future hope for a work station is to have a room
outside, either in a screened, glassed, un roofed, etc or just
having the bench right out on the ground with some sun protection,
but mostly to use the sun for light.

this way you get all the natural vitamin d, the highest quality and
strongest light, the air, the sounds of animals and insects of
course the only drawback is rain and dew and cold

making jewelry outside is a holy experience


I don’t know Judy, I’ve personally used both of these and find that
the hepa really didn’t do all that much good for my migraines and the
dirt in the air…And I ran it full and kept it clean. It’s not
advised to run the ozone full blast consistantly I give you that. but
it does knock the dirt down out of the air where you’re not breathing
it in.My husband spent three weeks last winter in the hospital with
severe pnuemonia and this winter we’ve had no “sick” days since we’ve
invested in the Flair air conditioner. Plus we all feel better …This
is my own personal observations and believe me, I don’t invest in
anything lightly. I don’t have the money to do that. With the flair I
was given a trial period to test out the effects. Maybe that would be
the way to go for people who are in doubt how it will affect them.
Lisa at @gnmhllw ?

One solution is getting the right chair. I am inserting a shameless
plug for Herman Miller’s Aeron chair. The seat colors are named after
gems… I joke that it was “buy the chair or spend the money with a
Chiropractor” at least the chair has a 10 year warranty… No
connection with the company- but my body is happier… and there is a
family history of bad backs.

A dust collector at the bench will also help. Another shameless
plug, sorry…

The dental industry gets the good tools before we see them.
Micromotors, benches with built in dust collection, casting
machines… This American made unit is very quiet, and you can get an
odor filter for it. I replaced a U60 dust collector with this unit.
So my polishing system is quieter, and the plumbing is simpler…No
more $200 filters! The accumulator traps most of the dust and the $8
bag gets the rest. Vaniman’s collector heads need a serious redesign,
however. Dave Arens made me some cleat plates that allow me to hang
the collector head onto a GRS block. My assistant uses a Microstar
unit from Gesswein, the collection head is typically German- solid
and practical. Just don’t drop it, the glass shield shatters. The
motor brushes are a hassle to replace, too.

Rick Hamilton

 or just having the bench right out on the ground with some sun
protection,, but mostly to use the sun for light. 

Hi DP, My studio is pretty much “open air” in the summer heat, which
does cause some problems. Most frustrating are the mosquitoes. You’ve
got tools and/or work in both hands, concentrating on a critical
step, and you don’t even notice the bloodsucker. Or worse, you notice
you’re being bitten, but can’t put something down to free a hand for
slapping. I’ve actually been so focused, I’ve been bitten on the face
and didn’t even realize it until the maddening itch. And you can tell
when the bug spray wears off, because they start biting again! The
bees, wasps and occasional bird in the studio aren’t as bad, since
they aren’t actually focused on you as a source of a meal.

Food for thought?

Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)

Most frustrating are the mosquitoes. You’ve Dave, i think that you
need the tent that is all mosquito netting But they don’t come out in
the daytime, right, so all you need is a little shade, until

Re: mosquitoes

 But they don't come out in the daytime, right 

Wrong. They’re out all day. If you live near the woods, near a lot
of standing water, and there’s not a stiff breeze, you’re covered
within 5 minutes of stepping out the door. Dave, try running a fan.
It looks a little silly to run a fan outside, but it works.

Christine in gloriously springful Littleton, Massachusetts, USA

True… sad, but true. I’ve been dealing the last couple years with
a new type of “stealth” mosquito. I used to be able to hear the
high-pitched whining buzz, but these are silent to me. They are also
smaller, but leave a bite with a welt that can be as big as a dime,
and a fierce itch!

I’ve recently become aware of a product called the Mosquito Magnet.
This device is so effective, the US Coast Guard used six of them to
reclaim a Bahamian base that had been abandoned after being declared
uninhabitable due to mosquito infestation. Runs on a propane tank and
puts out CO2 to attract the things from over about an acre, and sucks
’em into a holding bag/death chamber. The device ain’t cheap, but I
think there are some more affordable knockoffs coming on the market.

In the mean time, DEET spray, and Christine’s fan suggestion may
help me retain what little sanity I have left! I suppose I could also
consider screen doors… but would be kind of tough with the
barn-door style doors I have.

All the best,
Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)

Fact is, only male mosquitos buzz. Females don’t. (And no, I don’t
know why.) The problem is that it’s only the females that bite,
because they need the blood to fertilize and make more mosquitos.

So remember: If you HEAR a mosquito buzzing around you, it’s a male
and you don’t have to worry. It’s when you CAN’T hear the mosquitos
that you’re in trouble!

John Shanahan
Webmaster & Staff Writer
MJSA/AJM Magazine
1-800-444-6572, ext. 3037

    Fact is, only male mosquitos buzz. Females don't. (And no, I

Complete myth as far as I know (my father was an entomologist and I
seem to recollect him using that as an example of “don’t believe
everything you read or hear, make sure it’s supported by credible
sources”). See

Sorry I couldn’t find a better reference on short notice but it
wouldn’t make sense for a male mosquito to listen for a female’s buzz
if they didn’t buzz. (If you hypothesize that the female’s buzz is
ultrasonic (above 20,000 cycles per second) and therefore humans
cannot hear it you better be able to back it up with science because
I don’t believe that either.)

An inventor send me a Washington Post article the other day that
stated this “gem”:

“[such] phenomena arise from matter’s spontaneous ability to amplify
energy by stupendous factors when conditions are right.”

Complete and utter tripe.

James E. White

Very True, the male mosquitos do the buzzing and the females do the
biting. I kill the male mosquito because without him around the
female will not need the blood to reproduction. Also the mosquito is
drawn to you by the carbon dioxide you breath out. They lay eggs in
standing water. So if you have any get rid of it or keep it changed
out. When a mud puddle becomes wet again from last month or last
year some of the old eggs will hatch and some will wait for another
time. I guess that way if the puddle dries up before they mature
into adults they have another chance to try. John Daly
Grand Junction, CO.