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Re: Safety / Allergies


From: Tammy Parker (ymmatrekrap_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Oct 04 2003 - 22:00:38 PDT

As a person who has a "huge list" of allergies, I would agree with what Sidnie said for the most part with a couple added notes.
Children who are "allergic to life" (my favorite way of explaining my allergies in under 5 minutes) should either know their own limitations or parents should give a detailed list at the beginning of school. *Be especially alarmed if the list includes any chemicals.* If they are senstivie to chemicals, they might not have a list of specific products, so you might have to do some research of your own to find out exactly what is in certain products. My experience is that everything from tempera paint and wax crayons to rubber cement and aerosol sprays can trigger a reaction, depending upon what chemicals are most bothersome to an individual. I've had quite a time finding out what all I react to and what I can tolerate. I know my own limits and can test out some things by trial and error, but I do not recommend this for elementary children who are chemically sensitive!! If you want to test something out for a child, at the very least communicate with the parents exactly what you
 will be doing so they can provide suggestions. It may very well bother a child just to be in the same room as the other children who are working with a product which triggers a reaction for her/him. If you teach "art on a cart" in the regular classroom, be especially careful to work within the child's limitations since fumes from some supplies can linger for several hours to several days, thus interfering with the student's ability to learn for the rest of the day.
Hopefully most of you will never have to work with a student who is this severely allergic/chemically sensitive. Unfortunately, a growing number of the population does react to chemicals found in everyday products, so I think it is important that we be aware of the possibility. In the event that you would have a student who reacts to most art supplies (and there are a few out there), I encourage you to try to include him/her in class as much as possible. I know from personal experience that being "allergic to life" makes a person an outsider in many places, and hopefully art class need not be another one of those places. At the same time, the other students should be able to try all the wonderful projects that many of you have posted to this list, so it's a tough balance to strike between inclusion in activities and alternate assignments.
Thankfully most of you should never have to worry about most of the concerns that I am talking about, so you can read this and then look in your art cabinet/store room and revel in the fact that you can use any of the supplies you see!
Tammy in AZ

Sidnie Miller <> wrote:
I really think that you cannot run your program trying to avoid anything
that a child might me allergic to. I think it is the parent's
responsibility to let the school know of any known allergies--you might be
cautious of a child who seems to be allergic to everything--their list is
huge--corn products, wheat products, latex, insects etc. Almost all
professional artist's supplies are toxic--cadmium etc.--glazes are poison,
dust can kill you, air brush spray causes shock in some people, blah,
blah , blah.

Ask the kids at the beginning of the
year if they are allergic to anything, and be careful about the ones who
start giving you lists. Test them in a small area, or provide an
alternative assignment. Sid

# Sidnie Miller #
# Elko High School #
# College Avenue #
# Elko, NV 89801 #
# 702-738-7281 #

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