Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Safety in the studio, red rouge


#1

I’m learning my metalsmithing in tiny bits from here and there.
Could you tell me why red rouge is a bad thing? What do you use
instead?

Thanks,
Maureen Maker


#2
I'm learning my metalsmithing in tiny bits from here and there.
Could you tell me why red rouge is a bad thing? What do you use
instead? 

Red rouge is Not a bad thing, in and of itself. It’s the polishing
agent capable of giving just about the highest level of polish to a
number of the metals we use. And chemically, it’s just iron oxide
(same as rust), which is not toxic at all, plus whatever wax or
grease may be used as a binder.

However, rouge (any type) and other polishing compounds, when used
in buffing, generate air born dusts. You apply it to a wheel, and
polishing takes some off the wheel and converts it to air born fine
dust. All such dusts are, at the least, a good way to get your face
and hands exceedingly dirty, and more seriously, are respiratory
irritants when inhaled. It is for this reason that decent polishing
machines are set up with dust collectors to suck the dust laden air
away from the buff before it can reach the user, or why when using
such compounds at the bench without a collector, a dust mask may be
advised. Even with a manual polishing method like just rubbing the
work on a cloth or felt stick that has the compound on it (though the
manual methods like that are much less of a problem than a machine
driven method) can put some dust in the air.

Rouge, being made up of very small particles, is as able to produce
these fine dusts as any other compound, so the protections you should
use with it are equal to what you’d use with any. It is actually
safer than some, however. Some rouge compounds may be more chemically
active and toxic, and those based on silica containing materials
(white diamond, tripoli, etc) may pose a specific risk of silicosis
if inhaled chronically over time. Some of the more aggressive buffing
compounds, the ones intended more for initial cut down, if they
contain the harder abrasives like aluminum oxide or silicon carbide,
can put nasty scratches on your glasses really easily, which red
rouge won’t do.

The bottom line is that you should treat all polishing operations
with due care. That means some means to avoid inhaling any of the
compounds, as none are good to breath, even if some are less
dangerous than others. While you’re at it, remain aware that
polishing motors in general can be dangerous if not used correctly.
Work not held correctly and buffed correctly can catch in the buff
and be pulled from your grasp, or pull your fingers into the buff
causing potential serious injury, not to mention doing serious damage
to the jewelry as it slams into the back of the machine, or gets
sucked into the dust collector, or gets spit back out over your
shoulder traveling at high speed to some amazingly hard to guess
hiding place in your workshop… Even polishing “at the bench” with a
flex shaft or dremel, etc, is quite capable of throwing a small
piece a long distance across the shop if you’re not careful…

HTH
Peter Rowe


#3
Could you tell me why red rouge is a bad thing? 

It’s not so bad. Don’t breathe it.


#4
Could you tell me why red rouge is a bad thing? 

Try Google, "red rouge MSDS"
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/1j3

Al Balmer
Pine City, NY


#5

Maureen- Red rouge is just fine. Just don’t eat it or grind it up and
snort it. Depending on what metal you are polishing other colors of
rouge may benefit. I like Red for yellow gold, blue for silver and
platinum, and green or yellow for white gold.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer
timothywgreen.com


#6

The problem is the particle size of the oxide that makes the polish.
This is true for all polishes, the drier they are the more airborne
dust you will have. It gets deep into your lungs and irritates the
hell out of them. prolonged exposure to large amounts of dust will
cause serious health problems so dust hoods on your polishing wheels
are a neccessity for professional set-ups. Occasional exposure is not
that hazardous unless you have other pulmonary problems or are
exposed to other fine dusts.

Nick Royall


#7
I'm learning my metalsmithing in tiny bits from here and there.
Could you tell me why red rouge is a bad thing? What do you use
instead? 

Red rouge is not more dangerous than most any other rouge. It is
just very messy unless you like red ever where. All colours contain
fine particles which will kill ya. Treat with respect, dust
collection system or at least a good mask. And remember that black
junk produced does contain expensive metal. It might take years to
accumate enough but you will retire somday or take that cruise.

jeffD
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#8
Try Google, "red rouge MSDS" 
http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/1j3 

Gawd

Al you are trying to take all the fun out. I have more nasty
chemicals in my studio than I have fingers and toes (still all
there). Throw in nasty machines which some folks do not approve of
and it is amazing that I am still alive. Oh, add in the hot and cold
di-hydrogen mon-oxide plumbed in.

jeffD
Demand Designs
Analog/Digital Modelling & Goldsmithing
http://www.gmavt.net/~jdemand


#9

Hello Maureen and Jeff,

To Maureen,

The part of rouge that is bad is silica, which causes a condition
called silicosis. This takes years to develop but once the signs show
up there is little anyone can do because there is no cure. The only
thing you can do is be smart and take preventative actions now.

You can use non-silica buffing and polishing compounds but these
usually use Alumina which is aluminum oxide and some people have
issues with aluminum because there is evidence that aluminum can be a
contributing factor in Alzheimer’s disease.

To Jeff,

I hear that Di-hyrdogen Monoxide stuff is everywhere these days! It
causes numerous deaths each year!

This stuff is an amazing solvent, sometimes referred to as an
"universal solvent."

You have it plumbed in! Do you mix it with sodium stearate and use it
for sterilization?

Take care Maureen and Jeff,
Kenneth


#10

In reality, anything that is fine enough to polish with is something
you don’t want in your lungs, whether it contains Silica, Iron,
Carbon, or anything else.

They just have different names for it depending on what the original
agent is, and they all cause either cancer or scarring of the lung
tissue leading to emphysema of one type or another.

USE PROPER FILTRATION, Preferably at source, or wear a real mask (
not the 99 cent cheapies or a bandana)

Kay


#11
Alumina which is aluminum oxide and some people have issues with
aluminum because there is evidence that aluminum can be a
contributing factor in Alzheimer's disease.  

Gotta love the internet, this urban legend just will not die. The
study that cited aluminum as a possible contribution to Alzheimer’s
has been discredited for at least a couple of decades as the
aluminum was accidentally introduced by the researchers in their
sample preparation.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts


#12

Totally agree a mask is essential and as you say dust extraction on
polishers especially in extended use.

Regards
Hamish


#13
Alumina which is aluminum oxide and some people have issues with
aluminum because there is evidence that aluminum can be a
contributing factor in Alzheimer's disease. 

In addition to Mr Binnion’s comments on the debunking of aluminum (we
still use alum in cooking and pickling), it might be wise to actually
look up the MSDS of red rouge. It is generally red iron oxide,
sometimes with aluminum oxide, sometimes with animal fat and other
binders. Other than minimal inhalation cautions, no health warnings
are generally given. Some MSDS sheets for pure red rouge (iron oxide
mixtures) list no health warnings - although I still would avoid
breathing the stuff.

There are a lot of hazardous materials we need to actually worry
about out there, a quick way to understand a little about them is to
Google the MSDS sheet.

marlin


#14

I think face masks and extraction are the two things to be concerned
about. I have heard that the tiny fibres from polishing mops which
can be microscopic can be more dangerous than anything else if
inhaled. The cotton spinners in Lancashire suffered lung disease due
to the inhalation of cotton fibre. When I first set up my workshop I
had very little money, just enough to pay the mortgage, so had to
make do and mend. The attached picture shows my first extractor made
from a rectangular plastic fuel funnel attached to an old cylinder
vacuum cleaner hidden under the bench. It was very effective,
occasionally something would disappear down the hole but could be
found in the dust bag. The plastic rectangular water gatherer at the
top of water down pipes can be used but they have a bigger hole. My
photograph shows me cleaning up a mop with a metal cheese grater,
after this treatment I carefully burn or cut off the long strands
left sticking out after the process to leave a soft downy surface on
the mop. These strands, if left, can leave tiny scratches on the
metal being polished. This process produces a lot fibrous dust which,
I would think, should not be inhaled.


#15
Other than minimal inhalation cautions, no health warnings are
generally given. 

It doesn’t take too long in the real world to learn what is really
hazardous and what is “let’s wrap the students in hazmat suits lest
someone sue us.” It’s dirt.


#16

Here’s my polishing area with the dust collector to the left of the
polishing motor: http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/1ko

Anything that doesn’t get caught in the dust collector goes outdoors

  • I never recirculate the air. Also, I ALWAYS use this respirator
    when polishing or doing any type of abrading:

http://www.ganoksin.com/gnkurl/1kp

If I’m not wearing my respirator, I’m not polishing or abrading -
period.

Jeff Herman
hermansilver.com