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I was diagnosed with COPD/Emphysema


#1

All,

It’s been a long while since I posted here. I had some disturbing
news this week and wanted to see if any other jewelers might have
the same issue. I was diagnosed with COPD/Emphysema. I have been
making jewelry for forty long years and have enjoyed it for all those
years. After hearing the news I realized just how much I love it. I
worked in a mall setting for ten years in a 8x5 room with no
ventilation and a standard filtered buffer,never wore a mask, I
managed a plating company with poor ventilation and never used proper
precautions for breathing. When first starting out and some of you I
am sure have similar bench set ups, had a buffer and bench set up in
my bedroom apartment! I had a studio in a basement that had radon
with ventilation. The only time I have worn a mask is when mixing
investment. That has only been in the last 20 years or so after
going to a Sante Fe symposium. Over the years I have set up shops in
closets and cellars because of lack of funding to do it right. I
finally have a dream shop. I put it together only about 7 years ago.
Did I put in a great ventilation system at my bench and a new
buffer? No! I learned some of my craft from a grizzled old cowboy he
never wore a mask. He smoked a pipe and mixed tons of investment. He
lived to be 97. We are all different in our abllities to fight
toxins. I implore all of you, actually no I beg you, please wear a
mask and to use ventilation when working in your shop! COPD/Emphysema
is a chronic disease there are no cures. It can be managed but I will
have it for the rest of my days. I don’t know at what level I have
it yet but I’m not giving up. I can still carve waxes and have others
cast and finish or do cad work. It is not the same as pouring your
own metal from start to finish. I wanted to share this with you all
in hopes that there are other jewelers with similar stories also as
you sit at your benches you will remember stupid is forever!

Regards
J Morley Goldsmith


#2

I have COPD. Second hand smoke from my father for 18 years of
growing up. I wear a mask to do buffing/ polishing, gringing,
carving, casting even soldering sometimes. Wear the masks. My friends
visit my shop and call me Darth Vader and laugh because I am in so
much protective gear. I wear it so I can hear them laugh for a long
time. Nothing in this world is worse than not being able to breath. I
suffer from spinal pain and all kinds of things but that breathing
thing is pretty darn condusive to life and when you cannot breath
nothing else matters. Hang in there you can still make jewelry. I
spent the whopping 49 dollars on a mask that can prevent vapors, eye
goggles and a face shield. I am sure it is right there in your Rio
catalogs.

Teri


#3

Thank you for posting that J Morley. My father in law has
COPD/Emphysema. There is no cure but it can be managed by
medications. A cpap machine at night made a pretty big difference in
his quality of life during the day. Just do what you can in the
studio and enjoy every minute of it. Make lots of pretty stuff.


#4

Morning J,

I received the same news eleven years ago and understand how
upsetting it is to find out just how stupid we are when handling
toxic substances. I spent twenty-two plus years mixing and breaking
out investment without even bothering to wear a dusk mask. Just blow
the clouds of dust out of my face and keep on working! I installed a
dust collector and wear a respirator today, but the damage is with
me every day of my life.

The good news is that since 2001, my Doctor tells me I am actually
improving somewhat. I still do most of the activities I did in the
past, take two medications daily, see my specialist twice a year,
and live life to the fullest.

Hang tough my friend,
Jon Michael Fuja


#5

the mask at $40 would be cheap at ten times the price if it keeps
people from developing COPD. It’s not only stressful for the person
who is having breathing difficulties, it is also stressful for all
those who love them. Wear the mask!


#6

Hello,

So what mask do you guys recommend?

Best,
Chris


#7

J; sorry to hear about your condition. I am afraid that I probably
belong to the “old cowboy” attitude. But I must and do agree that any
of you just starting or still in good shape please please take the
correct precautions when working with the metals and chemicals. So
much more is known now about the risks that quite honestly some of us
older folks never learned. A wise person learns not only from his own
mistakes but from those of others as well. J good luck to you and I
hope you have many great patterns left in you to be done. I have yet
to develop the wax carving ability and stand in awe of those who can.

John (Jack) Sexton


#8

Polishing dust, eletro strippers, plating solutions, solders, Poor
fans & ventilation, $300 polishing motors rather than a good suction
machine…

At age 58 got throat cancer. Could it be?

David Geller


#9

I’m sorry to hear of your diagnosis. It just strengthens the
lectures we give to ALL our jewelry students. VENT, VENT, VENT, AND
WEAR A MASK any time you are buffing, grinding, or throwing bits and
pieces in the air! Some people are luckier than others. Sorry to hear
that you weren’t. I hope your tale does some resonating with people.
It doesn’t take long to flip a switch on a vent, it doesn’t take long
to put on a mask- you just have to get in the habit.

Best of luck to you.
Ruthie Cohen
Mountain Metalsmiths School of Jewelry & Lapidary


#10

I feel for those of you with COPD. I smoked for many years, but quit
over 5 years ago. In my construction years used to cut compressed
asbestos board without a mask, and have breathed my share of toxic
dust in the studio. I seldom cast so am not exposed to the investment
or fumes from burnout very often. I have gone pretty low tech and
polish mostly with a stainless steel burnisher. The silicon wheels
for polishing seem to be murder on the lungs. Fortunately the lungs
still work pretty well.

In the past three years though, I have gotten into the habit of
taking a teaspoon of turmeric powder most every day in a breakfast
shake or capped up. A firefighter friend says that many firefighters
take heavy doses of turmeric after inadvertently being exposed to
intense smoke and fumes. Apparently the turmeric is an
anti-inflammatory and cleanses the lung tissue. It also works very
well for joint pain. Not sure if it would help once the lungs are
seriously impaired.

Chris


#11

Yes turmeric helps. I also take an herbal remedy from GNC called
Clear Lungs Extra Strength for about 18 months now and my lungs were
the best my doctor has ever heard them and he took a new base line
breathing test for me. I no longer use steroids or O2 or anything but
I have an emergency inhaler just in case. I take clear lungs 2x a
day.When I am struggling I eat what I call my lung foods. The best I
have found are fresh spinach and Amy’s Organics Indian frozen foods
she also makes a spinach feta “pocket”. Changing my diet to
accommodate foods the are more conducive to oxygenating my system
really has helped.

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/mg
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/mf

Take care and hope this helps Teri

Take care oh and clear lungs can help with those chest colds and
bronchitis. Helps clear it out fast. I used to get pneumonia at the
drop of a hat but have been clear noe for 18 months


#12

all,

i have a home studio and always wear a mask (a 3M N95 face mask) and
safety glasses whenever using my foredom for anything. i recently
enrolled in a casting class and of course use it when making
investment as well. there is a proper ventilation system at my class
studio.

at home, however, i don’t have a ventilation system. i work in my
basement which is almost 1300 sq. feet. I have been planning to set
up a HEPA filtration system w/vacuum.

Do you think a HEPA filter system would suffice?

I have a piece of equipment that has large hosing/tubing and a
vacuum that would suck the air from my soldering station and direct
it to the HEPA filter, but I have yet to get the filter. I am trying
to avoid a full ventilation system for 2 reasons, one- it still spews
toxins into the environment, and two- it is not as energy efficient.

what are your thoughts? would my home studio safe enough
w/vacuum/HEPA system? also, it’s worth mention that at this time I
have a full-time day job and only work in my studio maybe 12hrs a
week.

anna


#13

Real sorry to hear about your condition, yes there are many hazards
in the jewelry industry and masks help, but have you tried working
with a mask all day and glasses? A real hassle with glasses fogging
up, sliding, etc. Used suction motors on my bench for a while, was
too loud and in my way all the time. So I drilled holes into my
overhead rectangular bench light and fastened a “Splash shield for
Hoods” to it. It works real well, and I can easily move it up when I
need to take a closer look at my work. Beats being covered in metal
dust, or wax shavings from the overhead motor hand-pieces that I use
daily. Inexpensive and it works.

Sigi Eurich


#14

I use a welders type face shield and the mask works fine sweat and
comfort aside do you know what it is like to wear an oxygen mask
24/7? So yes comfort in the short run, but long term picture not so
fun.

Teri


#15

I have had COPD all of my life, diagnosed in my early 20’s, the
result of chainsmoking parents, according to my pulmonologist. After
MANY years of inhalers, nebulizers, prednisone, and frequent trips to
the E/R I started acupunture treatments. My Chinese Dr. also gives me
an herbal formula which was studied at Mt Sinai Hospital in NY and
found to be 95 % as effective as prednisone for the lungs with none
of the harmful side effects. Since I began treatment, I have not been
near an emergency room, I am at 90% lung capacity (as compared to 50%
formerly), and I have never been so healthy. My pulmonologist is
astounded. I must mention that this did not happen after one or two
treatments, it did take time. Many in our culture do not have the
patience for this type of treatment and would rather pop a pill. For
me, the prospect of prednisone induced osteoporosis, glaucoma and
cataracts (as well as some of the other nasty side effects) were
enough to give me the patience to stick with it.

Peggy Wilson
Harbor Jewelers


#16

would it be possible to post a picture of your shield/light set up?

thanks
E. Moran


#17
It's been a long while since I posted here. I had some disturbing
news this week and wanted to see if any other jewelers might have
the same issue. I was diagnosed with COPD/Emphysema. I have been
making jewelry for forty long years and have enjoyed it for all
those years. 

Hello again Jay,

I’m sorry to hear of your diagnosis. Rotten luck, all things
considered. I still remember you as the kind-hearted fellow drove all
the way out to Estes Park to pick me up, take me home, and put me up
for a night.

Cheers
Bri

Auckland
New Zealand
www.adam.co.nz


#18
In the past three years though, I have gotten into the habit of
taking a teaspoon of turmeric powder most every day in a breakfast
shake or capped up. A firefighter friend says that many
firefighters take heavy doses of turmeric after inadvertently being
exposed to intense smoke and fumes. Apparently the turmeric is an
anti-inflammatory and cleanses the lung tissue. It also works very
well for joint pain. Not sure if it would help once the lungs are
seriously impaired. 

We have a firefighter in the family who has never heard of using
turmeric powder. Can you provide additional

Thanks,
M


#19

One of my friends makes her morning scrambled eggs, out of tofu to
which she adds some turmeric. She is a violinist and on occasion has
had some joint pain in her fingers. She is convinced that the
turmeric has helped reduce the inflammation so that she is able to
continue her career as a violinist. I have heard that curry also has
the same anti-inflammatory powers. Turmeric is one of the ingredients
in curry.

Alma