Monday, March 31, 2008

Update #3 on poisoning

Well here it is a new day, and I feel completely normal again. On Wed., I plan on returning my unopened packs of polymer clay to Hobby Lobby, where I purchased them.

I have been hearing from some other people who have had reactions to the clay. Also, read Amber Dawn's public comment in my previous post about this.

Some good suggestions I've had are to wear gloves, and move the oven outside. Which I might be able to do in the future - right now I believe I need a break from the clay altogether.

In researching more about phthalates, I also learned it is a chemical that is in a lot of our health and beauty products. Which explains why on days I wear makeup, or on the rare occasion I might wear hairspray or perfume, I don't feel as well and I get that metallic taste in my mouth. I've been looking for the answer to that one for several years now, and I had simply attributed it to fragrance sensitivity. I didn't realize it wasn't the actual fragrance, but the chemical that's IN the fragrance.

I discovered some interesting and informative websites about all of this. Here's a link list:

Also, I discovered this article, and the paragraph I quote right after the link is in the article and is concerning:
"It is also possible that materials now thought to be safe for children will later be found hazardous. Rossol warns in particular of popular low-temperature modeling clays. Manufacturers of these brilliantly colored polymer clays have substituted as a plasticizer untested complex glycol ethers for the primary phthalate ethers (diethylhexyl phthalate or DEHP), which are now known to be animal carcinogens. The ethers are absorbed through the skin and, to a lesser extent, can be inhaled when the clay is fired. Such clays may also pose a problem, says McCann, because they may be used at home and fired in a family's oven that is also used for cooking. "If I could draw you the two sets of molecules, the DEHP and the ones they replaced them with, you would see how closely similar they are," Rossol says. "And yet since they have never been actually tested for long-term hazards, they can continue to label the product nontoxic."

So yes the companies ARE reformulating the polymer, but this person says what they are reformulating with is closely similar in chemical makeup to the original.

I visited Donna Kato's website this morning as well. Kato clay is NOT a brand I used...the brand I have been using is Sculpey III, and just recently I tried a little Fimo and Premo. I spotted this on Donna's site: "
Kato Polyclay has gone green! Tony reformulated our clay and removed the phthalates."

I have just written Donna to ask her about the safety of her clay and how the new chemical makeup compares to the old version, and to the other clay brands. It is possible I might be able to try her brand (with more precautions than I've used in the past, obviously). So I will wait to hear back from her about her product.

I really think these companies need to place appropriate warnings on the packages. I know when I first purchased polymer clay to try it, I thought it was totally safe, and especially since it was labeled "non toxic" and it appeared to be marketed to a children's audience. After my bout with E6000 years ago, I would have definitely heeded warnings/instructions about safety had they been on the package and I would have been working with it differently, which could have helped me avoid the issues I have been having recently and a high medical bill which I have no way to pay.


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