Health & Safety

Often overlooked health and safety are two very important topics for artists to consider. If you do not take care of yourself and your health you will not be able to make your art. We feel that is is also important to be aware of how your practice effects the earth environment and others around you. This page contains links, resources and info about physical and mental health, safety, disposal and books about those topics.

Health – Physical and Mental

Affordable Care California is a safe and simple destination that connects Californians with insurance companies and their agents.

Self Care for Artists – My Art Resources 5 part blog series written by Christine Rasmussen

Wellness for Makers – The mission of Wellness for Makers is to motivate and empower artists through education, mindful living, and movement. Wellness for Makers was created to make self-care, stretching, and massage techniques more accessible to artists everywhere. We strive to make it easy to find good resources, including interviews, articles, videos, and links to valuable organizations.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of 161 crisis centers that provides a 24/7, toll-free hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. 1-800-273-8255

Crisis Text Line is free, 24/7 support for those in crisis. Text 741741 from anywhere in the US to text with a trained Crisis Counselor.

Ergonomics for artists: Prevent neck strain and correct forward head posture


Chemicals, toxins and hazards in your supplies, materials and work-space
Resources about how to avoid hazardous and dangerous materials. It’s important to be familiar with not only the materials you use but also any materials others use around you. If you share a studio with someone or work for another artist, the chemicals they use could pose a risk to you as well.

Are Your Art Materials Making You Sick? – Have you ever wondered, are your  art materials making you sick? This article sheds light on the subject, cites some dangerous chemicals you should avoid, and offers steps you can take to avoid harming yourself.

Getting Your Sh*t Together – GYST provides a huge list of information, data sheets and more. It is imperative that you know what hazards your art materials can pose to your health and safety. Many artists have fallen permanently ill or worse, died from exposure to hazardous materials.

Art and Craft Safety Guide (PDF) –This guide contains three sections. Section I is a general guide for the use of art and craft supplies with children. Section II is an overview of the potential hazards associated with art and craft materials and provides applicable safety and first-aid information. Section III has more detailed information about specific art and craft disciplines and associated materials. A glossary at the end of this guide provides definitions of terms.

Enviro-Health Links: Keeping the Artist Safe: Hazards of Arts and Crafts Materials – Produced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this is one of the most comprehensive, well-curated and maintained sites for information on artists’ safety.

Art Inspector is a health and safety resources for safety and personal health when working with art materials. There are dozens of art related diseases and long term health problems that are caused by the artist working environment.

Art Hazards Project  – Resources on how to protect yourself and your studio. Information on what products to avoid and what safety protection you would need.

Chem See is where to go when you don’t know what the effect of a chemical is. If you are using a product and concerned about some of the product materials this would be a good place to start. It describes the chemical, symptoms, treatments of disease and precautions.

The Art and Creative Materials Institute, Inc. (ACMI)  – An international association of about 200 art, craft and creative material manufacturers which seeks to promote safety in art and creative products through its certification program. Many small companies, as well as large ones, participate in the ACMI product certification program. We are very proud of the fact that nearly a quarter of these companies are long-standing members (20+ years) of ACMI.


You should never just throw away your hazardous materials and supplies. Examples of these include, oily rags solvent wastes (turpentine, paint thinner, etc.),paints, linseed oil, ceramic glaze, photographic chemicals, acids and bases, sharp implements, lubricating oils, empty chemical containers, spray cans, propane or butane canisters and more. Check out these options for safe disposal.

Santa Clara County Household Hazardous Waste Program – Bring your household hazardous waste to one of the free HHW drop-off events outlined in our Operating Schedule – PaintCare plans special, one-day paint drop-off events in some parts of California. These events are open to households and businesses (painting contractors, property managers, etc.) in the state.


The Artist’s Complete Health and Safety Guide 1st Edition by Monona Rosso
The Artist’s Handbook of Materials and Techniques by Ralph Mayer
The Painter’s Handbook by Mark Gottsegen
Artist Beware, The Hazards in Working with All Art and Craft Materials and the Precautions Every Artist and Craftsperson Should Take by Michael McCann PhD CIH
Health Hazards Manual for Artists by Michael McCann Ph.D. and Angela Babin