Encaustic Slide

What to know when it comes to MSDS

March 14, 2014 - Written by  Darin Seim

Recently there has been some discussion and questions that have come up about the MSDS sheets on our site.  We want you to better understand why MSDS are provided and what information, procedures and data they are required to convey. Our MSDS for encaustic calls out specific colors by name only if they are considered hazardous.  Otherwise you will see language as in section 2 that reads:

All other Encaustic Paints:

This material is not classified as hazardous under OSHA regulations (29 CFR Part 1910.1200). 

We could, it is true, produce an MSDS for each and every color, but this would be extremely costly with very little increase in value to the artist who uses our paints.  Per Wikipedia, these documents are “intended to provide workers and emergency personnel with procedures for handling or working with that substance in a safe manner, and includes information such as physical data (melting point, boiling point, flash point, etc.), toxicity, health effects, first aid, reactivity, storage, disposal, protective equipment, and spill-handling procedures.”
It is important to note that MSDS documents refer only to chemicals that are regulated by the country in which a product is manufactured.  These documents do not necessarily list all ingredients in a product.  To research any and all pigments in our paints, you can refer to our website, our color chart, or the label on the paint itself.  There you will find the chemical composition of the pigments as well as the Color Index# for easy reference. 

The listing of this information is completely voluntary and varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.  We think it is important to offer this information not only for the purposes of health and safety but also so that an artist can be aware of the materials they are using in artworks that are very important to them.

For example:

ASTM D 4236
Another health and safety issue that comes up is the meaning of ATM D 4236.  All art supplies sold in the US must be reviewed by a board certified toxicologist and bear the phrase, “conforms to ASTM D 4236,” confirming that they have been properly labeled for chronic health hazards, in accordance with the federal Labeling Hazardous Art Materials Act (LHAMA). Under LHAMA, art supplies must contain warnings if they cause acute hazards—such as “harmful or fatal if swallowed” or “may cause skin irritation”—as well as warnings if they could cause chronic health effects, such as cancer, sterility, blindness, birth defects, or allergic reactions.  

In our case, this pertains mostly to heavy metal pigments such as Cobalt and Cadmium.  The labels for these colors will have a phrase such as “Warning: This product contains cadmium, a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer.  Do not ingest.  Keep out of reach of children.”

The health and safety of our employees and our customers has always been of utmost importance to us.  For a more thorough discussion of health and safety as it pertains to Encaustic please click here or always feel free to contact us directly at (800) 206-8088 (845-331-3112 outside the US) or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .