Susan- Pretty much all of the metal that we work with has been
recycled at one time or another. The Gold that you got from your
refiner may have bits of ancient plundered gold from the incas,
someone’s grandmother’s ring, a few teeth and so on. Gold and silver
are the ultimate recyclable art media.
As for a shop environment…
Any good commercial caster will have in place all of the safety and
environmental features they can. It’s in their best interest to not
get their employees sick or pollute the air. Otherwise law suits pop
up and they cost too much money.
You should visit Techform here sometime. They have the most amazing
air scrubbers and filters, safety rules for googles and mask etc.
Actually if I were twenty years younger, I’d work there. Stuller is
the same. They are always one step ahead.
Have fun, make lots of jewelry and stop worrying so much.