I have watched some videos on pastel use and was eager to use the ones I have already purchased, but I wonder if I should .  I have asthma, and I am seeing so much negative re: the dust and the health of the user.  Aside from the mask is there something else I should do to use these?  Is it bad for asthmatics?

Thanks for any help, Dinah

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Hi Dinah,

If you decide to use your pastels I'd recommend using them in a room with good ventilation (or even outdoors, in a patio or on a porch) and investing in an air purifier. I don't have any firsthand knowledge about whether pastels are bad for asthmatics, but if I were to use pastels I would take those precautions even though I don't have asthma. I've read that it can be quite dangerous to one's health to inhale those tiny pastel particles (which I used to do without even thinking about it, but the older I get the more health-conscious I get!)  :)

I've also seen a suggestion that artists keep portable vacuums nearby to suck up any loose pastel particles. Also, don't blow on your pastel art to get the excess pastel off (another thing I used to do and won't do anymore) because that will release the pastel particles up into the air which could then get inhaled. As a further precaution you can also wear latex gloves or finger cots so that your skin doesn't absorb the pastel.

Hope this helps and good luck!

Thank you so Thaneeya, so much. This just makes clear and confirms other statements by other artists I seen in other discussions. Guess I'll use a mask if I use the pastells. I'll have to wait for warmer times - Live in MN and there is no ventilation in homes usually. They have plastic sealed windows to keep the cold out.

just a thought... check out hard pastels like conte crayon. they aren't nearly as messy, although they aren't clean either... lol! they used to come in just earth tones, but all colors are available now. you might like them... they have a different look and feel from soft pastels... so might not be for everyone... but it is an alternative.  :o)

Thank you Michael B for your great info. I will consider that too.

Thanks for asking this question Dinah. I have pastels that have been given to me or in sets with other media but haven't used them because of the potential mess. After reading this I think I'll find someone to give them to because I do not want not to aggravate my inhaled allergies. I avoid oils because of the fumes, and solvents, but I don't think I would have thought about the danger of the dust particles on my health, let alone allergies!

Jo, I happen to be allergic to the environment and chemicals (walking down the isle with house cleaning substances triggers my asthma). Funny thing is, I'm not sensitive to perfumes. I use to use these art mediums yrs ago and no problem, my body has changed. Like you I have put oils on my "don't use list".  Both looked like lots of fun w/ the tutorials I've been watching on line. Well, there are still other mediums and sculpting, and other forms of expression - writing? I'm glad that I'm not the only one who has to consider this, but sad you have to deal with it. Be well and produce wonderful pieces of art! ; )

Thanks Dinah, I have the same problem with cleaning products, scented candles and perfume/cologne. Not all, but some. Didn't develop allergies and asthma until I was 21. All this does to art is keep our mess and fumes to a minimum because we avoid that stuff anyway! Lol!

Jo, good attitude.  I have collected tons of stuff through my art jouneys.  I had been very active in ceramics, doubt I should be doing that now; but I still have the tools and paints in my home. Need to donate those (although I can use the hand tools for some sculpy clay things I will be doing. My allergies started when I was like 33, in AZ. Never had them before that. Couple of the Dr's feel it's due to the fibromyalgia.  Glad though that I'm not allergic to perfumes - I love those smells (well most of them).

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