Volume 7, Number 1, Jan. 1985, p.4

Legislative Update: Art Materials

by Zora Pinney

The two pieces of legislation described in the last WAAC Newsletter (vol.6 no.3), regarding chronic toxicity labeling of artists' materials have passed in California. Effective 1 January 1986 the state law states, "No person shall distribute, sell, offer for sale or expose for sale any art or craft material containing toxic substances causing chronic illness on which the person has failed to affix a conspicuous label..."

The law also contains the following paragraph, "(i) If an art or craft material complies with labeling standards D-4236 of the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), the material complies with the provisions of this article, unless the department determines that the label on the art or craft does not satisfy the purposes of this article."

In 1982 the Crayon, Watercolor and Craft Institute, which sponsored a certification program for children's art materials, expanded to include acrylics, oils, ceramic paints, dry pigments, inks, solvents and mediums and became the Art and Craft Materials Institute. The change was undertaken in order to assist manufacturers of these materials in assurance that their labeling for chronic adverse hazards was appropriate and in accordance with ASTM Standard D-4236. Woodhall Stopford, M.D., as the consulting Toxicologist of the Institute, reviews formulae of all products submitted to him by member companies, and three eminent toxicologists act as his Toxicological Advisory Review Board.

Many manufacturers of these materials have joined the Institute in order to validify their compliance with ASTM D-4236 and therefore the California State law. The sheer number of formulations that Dr. Stopford and his colleagues must examine and evaluate makes the task formidable indeed. As a matter of fact, we are of the opinion that an extension must be applied in order to physically complete the evaluations, transpose the information into a suitable label and get the materials through the distribution channels and onto retailers' shelves.

We are hoping to have additional explanations by mid-February from the Department of Health Services, covering the new laws' more specific requirements including the procedure for label approval or how to use the ASTM labeling to comply with the law.

Zora Pinney
Zora's Artists Materials
Los Angeles

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