Are pastels toxic?
Depending on their ingredients, some pastels are toxic. One of the most dangerous ingredients in pastels, CADMIUM, is a known carcinogen.
• Terry Ludwig Pastels do NOT contain cadmium.
We use a Chromium Green III in some of our pastels. By its nature it is part of the Chromium Green family and must carry the following caution:
Caution: Some pastels may be contaminated with trace amounts (about 100 ppm or less) of Chromium VI Oxide. Chromium VI Oxide can cause serious health effects including cancer in humans. Chromium VI is known to the State of California to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity.
Caution: Dust creation is likely. Wash hands following product use. Wear a NIOSH approved dust respirator while handling this material. Avoid contact with eyes. If skin redness develops, discontinue use and wash area with soap and water. Rinse dust from eyes with copious amounts of water. If ingested drink plenty of water and contact a physician, if needed.
Our Material Safety and Data Sheet is available upon request. The MSDS is a toxicologist’s reports on the safety of materials used in our pastels.
Terry Ludwig Pastels conform to ASTM Practice D-4236. This means we are approved by the organization that sets standards for the safety of art materials.
Additional Health Labeling: California Proposition 65
The State of California requires clear and reasonable warnings on products and/or storage containers containing chemicals that have been shown to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm. Even if these products contain only trace levels of harmful chemicals, a warning is required by the State of California.
Manufacturers of certain products have included warnings pursuant to California Proposition 65, and caution is recommended when using products marked with the Prop 65 icon.
How do I control pastel dust?
First, learn to love dust. It comes with the territory. Additional recommendations for managing and even preventing dust are the following:
• Protect yourself from dust by wearing disposable gloves, such as latex or vinyl medical gloves. Also, wearing a dust mask is particularly important for anyone with asthma or other lung ailments. Both gloves and masks are available at your local pharmacy or drug store.
• Work on an easel that is slightly beveled forward. This will allow dust to fall directly downward.
• Do not BLOW on pastel a painting, which is a tremendous temptation and will send dust into the air and into your lungs. Instead, blot at excess dust to remove.
• At the base or your painting, layer masking tape, sticky side up, to catch dust as it falls downwards.
We make every effort to make sure your pastels order arrives with a minimum of dust transfer in our packaging materials; however, we have no control over the way our product is handled in shipping.
How permanent are pastels?
Pastels are the most permanent artists’ medium, if properly created and protected. For best longevity, do the following:
• Create your pastels on an archival surface, which is free of acid.
• Cover your final work with a glass surface.
Can I fix a broken pastel stick?
Fixing your broken pastel sticks is easy! Follow these simple steps:
• Remove the labels and any other paper from the pastel.
• Place the broken pieces in a small dish.
• Add 1-2 teaspoons of distilled water (use distilled water only, tap water contains chlorine, which will bleach the pigment in the pastel, and well water contains minerals which will also interfere with the pigment).
• Mix the pastel and water into a thick paste.
• Form the paste in desired shape.
• If the paste is too wet to form, blot it with a paper towel until a manageable consistency is achieved.
• Allow pastel to dry 2-3 days before using.
Why Square Pastel Sticks?
While more difficult to make, Terry Ludwig designed square pastels for the following reasons:
• Non-rolling: A frequent complaint of pastel artists is that their pastels roll off of flat surfaces and break, sometimes even shatter. Terry Ludwig Pastels stay in place!
• Variety of strokes: The square corners of our pastels allow you to create fine lines, and the flat edges produce smooth, broad strokes.
• Ease of travel: Square pastels pack better into tight spaces, do not roll inside travel cases and generally are easier to travel with.
• Greater control: Square pastels fit better in your hand and are easier to control than round pastels.