Lampwork Air Quality Testing
As a small business in NH, with at least 1 employee, I was eligible for work place environmental testing. I had the testing done in
my studio, which has a standard kitchen Oven Stove Hood placed 3 feet above my work space. Make up air is accessed through an open
widow directly behind me, which is on the opposite side of the building form my ventilation. The building is approximately 18 ft square.
I was tested for 70 minutes while I lampworked. During which time I was connected to small machines that took air in at a normal breathing
rate. They were collecting samples of the air particles, that were then sent to the lab and tested for the following Fumes, Dusts and Acids:
Iron Oxide Fume
Magnesium Oxide Fume
None of the above were detected in any level
Then a swab swipe was conducted on my work surface (which was not cleaned prior to the test).
Metal: Wipe Result:
Chromium ND (none detected)
The results are in micrograms (ug) per wipe. There are not current OSHA Limits for metal wipes. Levels
should be kept as low as possible to prevent accidental ingestion of contaminants.
Carbon Monoxide was monitored using and Industrial Scientific CO262 meter. No CO was detected during the
NOX was not tested which was an oversight, as it is a product of combustion.
These tests were performed by The State of New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.
Suggestions Made for Safety:
Because lead was found in the wipe, even though the amount was small, I was recommended to be cautious for
Lead. The best defense against Lead exposure is cleanliness.
- Clean workspace with a
- Minimize ingestion hazards, by being sure to wash hands and face
prior to eating, drinking, smoking or applying cosmetics.
- Lead competes with Calcium for gastrointestinal
absorption, for this reason be sure that your calcium intake is optimal. Check with your doctor about what
would insure that level is where it needs to be. Your overall health is a determining factor in how easily
your body absorbs environmental lead.
- Have your lead levels checked. There are two
different tests that can determine your levels and exposure. One tests long term exposure, and possible build
up, and one tests for your short term or recent exposure. Both are good to have, but they require different
tubes of blood, and not all labs keep both tubes on hand. So be sure to communicate with your doctor clearly
about your concerns and your testing desires.
I did have both lead tests done, and I had no concern able levels of
Lead in my system. I was told by the doctor that everyone "processes" lead differently, and that many factors
play into how your body handles the substance and how it removes the substance from your body. It is important
to talk to you doctor about these factors. I also had my blood tested for a battery of heavy metals, as I use
Silver frequently, without a mask, as well as enamels, and a lot of frit. No concerning levels of Heavy Metals
were detected in my blood.
Just because my situation seems relatively safe, does not mean yours does, too. This information is meant
to give you a place to start, if you are trying to find out what possible health concerns are occurring while you
are melting glass. You should be in communication with your doctor to be sure you are doing everything you can
to stay healthy for years to come. I hope you have found this helpful.
Many people have contacted me regarding the safety of torching and pregnancy. I am not a Doctor, or a Scientist, so I can not answer this as any professional in the field. I can only share with you my opinion, as it relates to the information I had available, and my situation. I believed that the fetus can not be exposed to anything that I'm not exposed to. Since my exposure to heavy metals and lead had not shown up in my system, when tested, or showed themselves to be of concern in the testing, I felt that torching during my pregnancy was acceptable. This is not a recommendation, simply a sharing of what I decided for myself. Please talk to your doctor before making any decisions about the health of your unborn babe!