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Artist recycling plastic as paint

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  amruta 9 months ago.

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Luke ODonnell lukeo25

Artist recycling plastic as paint

09/11/2017 at 02:12

Hi I’ve been using dissolved polystyrene gel and pigments in my art for years now. Recently I was told that handling the gel was dangerous. I am unsure about this does anyone have experience on the matter.

Here is some of my art.

You can find more on my blog http://oscarmccoska.blogspot.co.nz/

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starter
29/11/2017 at 15:40
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I’m not sure about what exactly was meant by dangerous, because chemically, the danger can come from different sources (and you can often protect yourself 🙂 )

Polystyrene does not dissolve in water, so you need to use solvents which can be dangerous if you inhale their vapors.
I found a thread talking about PS dissolution here: https://www.researchgate.net/post/How_do_I_dissolve_polystyrene
Among the solvents mentionned there, acetone and choloroform have both been classified as carcinogen, which means they can favor the appearance of cancer (and if it’s by inhalation, you can protect yourself by wearing a mask, working under a fume hood, something that extract the vapors of the solvents…). If you know which solvent is used in your gel, you can find more information about how dangerous it is by looking for its MSDS (material safety data sheet), it will tell you if it goes through your nose, skin, what quantity can be dangerous and which effects can be expected… And you can adapt the way you work or try to find a replacement for the solvent.

Chemistry can sound scary, but if you remember than water is fatal by inhalation (drowning :P), it gives you an idea about how scarier it sounds than it can actually be (but still be careful though, when you’re not sure!).

EDIT: I’m not sure if you can read the thread if you’re not on researchgate. It’s easy to register, but if you don’t want to: the thread talks about acetone, chloroform, benzene, toluene, THF, dichloroethane, xylene and links to this scientific article: “Study of the solubility and stability of polystyrene wastes in a dissolution recycling process”, Waste Management 29 (2009) 1814–1818, which you can find through sci-hub website (extension changes frequently, because it is piracy for researchers, since scientific articles are ridiculously expensive to access. For now it is sci-hub.cc or .bz, enter the title of the article on the search page and it will lead you to the full article)

starter
30/11/2017 at 20:46
2

I’m not sure about what exactly was meant by dangerous, because chemically, the dangers can be diverse (and you can often protect yourself 🙂 )

Polystyrene itself is not toxic. Although, as it does not dissolve in water, its dissolved gels might contain solvents which can be dangerous if you inhale their vapors.
I found a thread talking about PS dissolution here: https://www.researchgate.net/post/How_do_I_dissolve_polystyrene
Among the solvents mentionned there, acetone and choloroform have both been classified as carcinogen, which means they can favor the appearance of cancer (and if it’s by inhalation, you can protect yourself by wearing a mask, working under a fume hood, something that extract the vapors of the solvents…). If you know which solvent is used in your gel, you can find more information about how dangerous it is by looking for its MSDS (material safety data sheet), it will tell you if it goes through your nose, skin, what quantity can be dangerous and which effects can be expected… And you can adapt the way you work or try to find a replacement for the solvent.

Chemistry can sound scary, but if you remember than water is fatal by inhalation of its liquid form (drowning :P), it gives you an idea about how scarier it sounds than it can actually be if you are reasonably cautious (still, be careful when you’re not sure!).

EDIT: I’m not sure if you can read the thread if you’re not on researchgate. It’s easy to register, but if you don’t want to: the thread talks about acetone, chloroform, benzene, toluene, THF, dichloroethane, xylene and links to this scientific article: “Study of the solubility and stability of polystyrene wastes in a dissolution recycling process”, Waste Management 29 (2009) 1814–1818, which you can find through sci-hub website (extension changes frequently, because it is piracy for researchers, since scientific articles are ridiculously expensive to access. For now it is sci-hub.cc or .bz, enter the title of the article on the search page and it will lead you to the full article)

starter
17/07/2018 at 12:42
0

Manix,
Thank you for your help and your answers. I use a well ventilated area to work my plastic gel. But I handle it with bare hands. I often use a barrier cream but I don’t know what is the best way.
Your help is appreciated.

starter
30/07/2018 at 11:39
0

Hey there

Your paintings are great. I work on somewhat similar lines using discarded plastic bags to make some form of art. But m just a starter..I fuse plastic bags to create my paintings and installations and I assume a well ventilated area is okay to work as long as m not burning the plastic.

Cheers

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