Cadmium Paints Are Safe
The European Commission has issued its communication confirming that it will not adopt a REACH restriction on cadmium in artists’ paints, which would have seen cadmium colours effectively banned in Europe. Cadmium paints can still be used by artists!
In 2013/14 the EU’s Chemical Agency responded to a Scandinavian request that attempted to reduce the quantity of cadmium batteries sent to land-fill waste across Europe. Alarmingly the proposed legislation made no allowance for the entirely safe cadmium compounds used in artists’ paints and if successfully adopted would have seen cadmium banned from use by European paint makers. Without concerted and urgent effort, artists would have been deprived of the vibrant cadmium yellows, reds and oranges that have formed an essential part of the professional palette since the 1840’s!
This was Achived by:
Co-ordinating the campaign were Spectrum Paints, a comparatively small UK paint maker. Their size meant they were unrestricted by legal departments and press officers, so They set about raising awareness and speaking with the EU through the paint maker’s trade organisation CEPE. Artists & Illustrators Magazine was an early supporter and joined the campaign to spread the word and encourage individual artists to contact the ECHA with their views.
The European Chemical Agency ECHA were impressed with the art world’s reasonable, informed and strongly-held view that pigments such as Cadmium Sulphate are indispensable to artists- perfectly safe, perfectly strong, wonderfully lightfast and producing unique shades. There are imitations but no replacements!
We can continue to use Cadmium oil paints for the foreseeable future, thanks to the hard work of many individuals. So take advantage and enjoy the medium, life is full of colour.
Marc A Turner.