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Inhaling foreign materials at the bench


#1

Now that I have been at the bench for a few years, I find that I
spend a great deal of time in the finishing process of my jewelry
pieces to the point of perfection. With that goes a lot of filing,
sanding and polishing and I am very concerned about breathing all of
these foreign materials. Those of you who do a lot of sanding and
polishing know exactly what I mean. Working with red rouge is a
nightmare insofar as breathing is concerned. It’s not just limited
to red rouge, but red rouge takes it to an extreme. What I mean by
that is if you work with any other type of polishing compound, it’s
still there but you just may not be able to visually see it. Also,
using abrasive wheels on a Foredom flex shaft creates a lot of
particles. (especially when finishing off where the sprue was cut)
I can’t begin to tell you have many times I have left my basement to
go upstairs, and when I look in the mirror I am not at all happy
when I observe that my nostrils and face are coated black/red with
these tiny small particles. Let’s not even talk about casting and
breathing the tiny particles of silicone, fumes from the torch,
fumes from melting the metals, etc. I realize that the solution is
to wear a breathing mask of some sort, but I wonder how many others
out there do that or have figured out something else. Wearing a
mask is no fun when you are already wearing optivisors and tons of
other body protection equipment. I’ve done it and after about ten
minutes, it gets very uncomfortable, but I am guessing that it is an
absolute necessity. I go to the jewelry district in NYC frequently,
and I never see any of the bench jewelers wearing a breathing mask.
I am really wondering how much harm and damage we are doing to
ourselves. I would love to hear comments and suggestions from
others about this.

Glenn Block
Shardan Jewelry


#2

If you are sensitive about what you breathe at the jeweler’s
workbench you might just as well forget about being a jeweler.
Making jewelry involves breathing all kinds of nasty substances. The
fact is that modern lifestyles involve breathing lots of stuff that,
on close examination ,would be lethal in various doses. The other
fact is that human beings are remarkably well adapted to filtering
out air born particles that are deleterious to health and that the
human apparatus is also well adapted to dealing with assimilated
substances.The moral of the story is that all human endeavours
involve potentially unhealthful consequences and that it would be
unrealistic to shun involvement just because a particular activity
MIGHT be threatening. Human adapatability is really remarkable and
should never be an excuse for not becoming engaged.

Ron Mills at
Mills Gem Co. Los Osos, Ca.


#3

Hi Glenn,

Although I use the standard face mask available at home centers, I
have seen many who wear a dental mask which lies closer to the face.

Check out this link:
http://web.mawebcenters.com/dimshealth/item190869.ctlg

It’s very annoying to have to wear the mask, it drives me crazy when
I first put one on and it makes my breath fog up my safty glasses!
But, I wouldn’t be with one one.

Pam


#4

Hi Glenn. This thread has been discussed here many times. Judging
from your post, you already know the dangers of breathing without
protection in your shop. Sure, masks are uncomfortable, but think
how uncomfortable you’ll be later in life when your lungs are a
black, oozing lump (I know, you’re asking to avoid that very thing).

Still, masks aren’t quite enough. If your polishing machine doesn’t
have a collector, get one. If you can’t afford one immediately, at
least place it in a box. Even a cardboard box will do, temporarily.
Vent your casting and soldering areas to the outside, and place your
pickle pot near that, too. Do yourself a favor and search the
archives for similar threads, there is a lot of powerful information
there.

Info on polishing, including compound elements:

Also in the Archives, a home-made venting solution for a soldering
station, easily converted for use where needed, including a casting
station: http://www.ganoksin.com/borisat/nenam/studio-ventilation.htm

Here’s to breathing free,
James in SoFl


#5
 ... Wearing a mask is no fun when you are already wearing
optivisors and tons of other body protection equipment.  I've done
it and after about ten minutes, it gets very uncomfortable, but I
am guessing that it is an absolute necessity.  I go to the jewelry
district in NYC frequently, and I never see any of the bench
jewelers wearing a breathing mask. I am really wondering how much
harm and damage we are doing to ourselves.  I would love to hear
comments and suggestions from others about this. 

I was (and am) having some breathing problems, and for a while just
looking at my bench made my throat close up, seemingly. I bought a
fresh-air mask, with a long hose and a pump, so with the pump
sitting in another part of the house and the hose coming through the
wall, I can sit in my work area and breath fresh air. I’ve got some
safety glasses that go over my regular glasses, and a plastic
headband with the magnifying lenses on it, and then the mask goes on
over all of that. It’s not the most comfortable gear in the world,
but if it’s adjusted well I can sit there for two hours without a
break, soldering. There’s a picture, minus the safety glasses, at
the bottom of this page:

http://www.golden-knots.com/tools.html

When I polish my work on the buffing wheel, I wear the mask and
glasses, then I go right to the sink and scrub, so I won’t be wearing
the gunk for a long time and smear it into my eyes or end up eating
it.

I don’t know how people can sit right over their work and keep
breathing while toxic fumes fill their space. Done enough of that,
already, and I don’t intend to do it any more.

Stay safe,

Loren
http://www.golden-knots.com/


#6

I try to use common sense and stay relative free of silica and
asbestos. I try to use a little care with SiC as well. Those two
substances seem to be the real culprits, and if you cast, I suggest
that no matter how you try to filter your air or even pump it in
from outside, a substantial amount will find its way to your lungs.
The particles that are removed with a mask, are in all probability
too large to do much damage. The action of cilia and coughing can
remove most of the big stuff. The smaller particles that pass
through the mast tend to nestle down deeper in the lungs where
normal cleansing actions of the lungs don’t work so well. They also
are floating around long after the dust has settled.

I’m with Ron on this. I prefer to use the little time that I have
left on this planet doing work rather than hiding from every
possible hazard. The time that I waste trying to protect myself from
unavoidable hazards is also time that I can’t make up in the end.

If you find that you are sensitive to particular things, by all
means take care of yourself. I smoked for twenty years and was
smoking 3-4 packs a day when I quit 17 years ago. I really believe,
that though I may be wrong, that that was a far greater danger than
what I face today.

Bruce Holmgrain
http://www.goldwerx.com


#7

Loren, That photo of you looks like me preparing to go to sleep.

For anyone wondering what a “Fresh Air Mask” is, I was diagnosed
with sleep apnea and that is what I have to wear overnight. It is
otherwise known as a CPAP, (continous pressure air provider.)

It is not a bad idea at all to use it at the bench. I’d hate to cart
it to school with me where I now do most of my soldering, melting,
etc., although the school’s director also uses one for sleeping.

It will not surprise me at all to see more of these worn for more
than sleep. Comfortable? NO not at all. I do see that at times
overnight I have a rather high volume of air. I hope this influx of
air to the brain stops the many small strokes plaguing me.

Google “CPAP” you can read all about it there.

Thanks Loren,
Terrie


#8
If you are sensitive about what you breathe at the jeweler's
workbench you might just as well forget about being a jeweler."
the the diatribe about adaptibility of human body...ummm yes you
can survive a poisonous snake bite but do you really want to tempt
the fates? 

LOL at Ron no way I have severe asthma that is due to my brain
injury and if I let negative attitudes like yours guide me I would be
sitting in a chair like a lump watching tv waiting to die!

You only have one set of lungs , one pair of hands, one set of eyes
take care of them!.

Safety first!!! and remember every day you open your eyes is a
good day after all you are dead for a very long time. Enjoy life now
and perserve the quality of life.

Teri
America’s Only cameo Artist
www.cameoartist.com


#9

this thread got me researching the orchid archives and that research
left me mildly scared and very determined to get appropriate
ventilation in my studio.

i would LOVE to call up OSHA and have them over, but to the best of
my knowledge there is no such comparable organization in costa rica.

are there any ventilation experts/engineers out there willing to
work with me via internet?

jocelyn broyles
@Jocelyn_Broyles1
Designer/President
www.jocelynbroyles.com
Costa Rica ph(011 506) 376.6417
U.S. fax (253) 669.1679


#10

Although my polishing booth is direct-vented outside (I have no
trust in the fiberglass filters that came with my old Vigor unit,
especially when the polishing room walls used to end up coated with
black powder every year) I wear a respirator while polishing and
after a few weeks the filter is quite gray. It is the very fine
particles that do the most damage, lodging deep within the lungs. I
mostly use white diamond prepolish and it comes packaged with a
warning suggesting it is carcinogenic or can cause other chronic
respiratory disorders. Yes, it is a bit uncomfortable and
inconvenient, especially if I have to stop to deal with a customer,
but the spending my last years in pain and attached to an oxygen
bottle is much worse.

Edward


#11

Thanks to the originator of this thread for bringing up a very
important topic - I know it’s been touched upon before, but it’s
always handy to bring

safety issues like this to the forefront of the conversation, rather
than hoping we’ll stumble upon them in the archives. Any way you
slice it, we work with some nasty stuff. All confidence in
evolutionary medicine aside, I’m not willing to wait until my lungs
adapt to whatever gunk I’m inhaling! I’ve spent enough nasty days
sneezing and coughing after neglecting to wear my dust mask to
convince me that PPE (personal protective equipment) is not just for
safety geeks.

     It's very annoying to have to wear the mask, it drives me
crazy when I first put one on and it makes my breath fog up my
safty glasses! 

I ran into this same problem and found a very workable solution:
wear your dust mask with a face shield rather than standard safety
glasses. I usually wear a dust mask and face shield during
finishing or grinding tasks and have

found the combo quite comfortable. The face shield also helps deflect
flying objects (like when your buffing wheel decides to grab the
piece you’re polishing and fling it at your nose) and seems to help
keep rouge dust, etc. from clogging up your pores. I find that the
increased field of vision is much more comfortable than safety
glasses as well.

Jessee Smith
www.silverspotstudio.com


#12

When I polish at my bench grinder (which I do a LOT less of, since
I got my tumble polishers), I wear one of those little metal masks
with rubber edges, covered with some removable and washable stretchy
fabric. It has little round replaceable filters. The amount of dark
stuff that appeared on the filters does encourage me to keep on
using this mask.

However, I have improved my situation somewhat by covering the exit
hole on my air unit behind my spindle with one of those dryer vent
adaptors, then attaching some of that flexible dryer hose, which in
turn is attached (I’m using a lot of duct tape here…) to an old
shop vac. (That squirrel-cage fan inside my unit just doesn’t
produce enough suction.) When I polish now, I turn on the shop vac
(and put on ear-protectors!) and get much less foreign (polishing)
material thrown into air.

Judy Bjorkman


#13

On behalf of Silver Mouse,

I understand your concern for health and safety. These are all
valid and you should use the safety equipment that is available.
Both respirator and safety wear for your eyes are a must and there
has been some good advice given here.

The one thing that I did not see addressed was a proper collection
system for your polishing situation. If you are doing copper, brass
or other metals like that I suppose that blowing it out a window
would be one solution though environmentally unsafe or unethical.
If you are doing silver some gold or other precious metals, I would
hate to think how much money you have blown out the window. A nice
stiff breeze will cost you thousands of dollars every year. Money
you could have used to purchase a very nice dust collection system.
A good collection system will collect most of the dust and keep your
work environment relatively clean and safe. By collecting your
precious metal buffing dust, you can save it until you have enough
to send to the refiner. They will refine it and either send you a
check or metal. My last refining collection check was over
$4000.00. Not bad for dirt! Precious metal bearing dust, dirt,
sweeps, sand paper should all be collected. If your not, you are
costing your self money. Even an inexpensive collector will make
you money. A good one will collect possibly twice as much material
as a less expensive model which relates to an increase in returns on
your refining. Depending on the amount of work you do it could pay
for the machine in less than a year. Not a bad investment. At the
lease it keeps your shop cleaner and you healthier. Again not a bad
investment.

Respectfully,

Phillip Scott G.G. (GIA)
Technical Support & Sales
Rio Grande


#14

Just one more thought:

Mask or no mask, keep your immune-system up. As we are working with
hazardous substances it is even more important. Like if you want the
body to filter the air make sure the filter works.

Ortwin (no mask jet but will try tomorrow)


#15

Be aware that if you grind beryllium without a proper mask, you may
find yourself 30 or more years down the road with chronic beryllium
disease …with scarring of the lungs that can prove fatal.
Beryllium dust is highly toxic.

Dee


#16

Dear All,

Why don’t we look at the dental technicians. There tools and
equipment is much better and safer than in the jeweler busisines. I
know it it more expensive and the profit on teeth is much more than
on jewelry. I have for years a second hand dental dustcollector
device under my work bench. This one is connected with my hanging
motor and whenn I use the hanging motor the fan auomaticly starts. No
fuzz with masks. And the dust is collected next to filing pen.

An other problem with masks is that if you are not well ventilating
and taking of your mask (the dirty work is over), you still breath
the dust particles who are invisable and floting around in your
workspace. So my advice is use a dust collector and not a mask.

Martin Niemeijer

Ndesign
Cultuurwerkplaats R10
Rieteweg 10
8041 AK, Zwolle
The Netherlands
info@ndesign.nl ;www.ndesign.nl
Phone +31 (0)38 7501258
Mobile phone +31 (0)651831576


#17
Why don't we look at the dental technicians. There tools and
equipment is much better and safer than in the jeweler busisines. I
know it it more expensive and the profit on teeth is much more than
on jewelry.  I have for years a second hand dental dustcollector
device under my work bench. This one is connected with my hanging
motor and whenn I use the hanging motor the fan auomaticly starts. No
fuzz with masks. And the dust is collected next to filing pen.
An other problem with masks is that if you are not well ventilating
and taking of your mask (the dirty work is over), you still breath
the dust particles who are invisable and floting around in your
workspace. So my advice is use a dust collector and not a mask.

Martin is right on both counts, The dust collectors for the dental
industry are very good and it is always better to collect the
contaminants right at the source rather than letting them get into
the room air.

Jim Binnion

James Binnion Metal Arts
Phone (360) 756-6550
Toll Free (877) 408 7287
Fax (360) 756-2160


@James_Binnion
Member of the Better Business Bureau


#18

Please check out the solder pure unit that all of us sell, Rio,
g-boys, stuller. The item is excellent and keeps the bench person
safe and healthy

Andy " The Tool Guy" Kroungold
Tool Sales / Technical
Stuller Inc
Phone 800-877-7777 ext. 94194
Fax 337-262-7791