Mark Golden on Paint

Entries Comments

Non-Toxic, Does it really exist!

30 April, 2009 (18:30) | General

We received some recent correspondence from a customer very concerned over our product warning information.  The customer suggested that they wouldn’t have chosen our products and or certain colors of ours because they could have purchased the same colors in another brand labeled as non-toxic.  The fact is, our products are no more dangerous than the competitive brands, yet our choice was to provide greater transparency in labeling.

I am very proud of our efforts to assure our customers that we will continue to uphold the most rigorous labeling standards in our industry.  We owe that to our customers and our staff.  This means that our products will all be evaluated by our own Safety and Compliance Director, Ben Gavett as well as an independent certified toxicologist according to ASTM labeling standards, D4236.  Ben in his role has been dedicated to assure that we don’t simply meet the minimum standard for labeling, but to exceed it.  On our label for products that do not require warning labels we use the following language:

“There are no currently known health hazards associated with anticipated use. (Most chemicals are not fully tested for chronic toxicity.)  To ensure safety; avoid ingestion, excessive skin contact and inhalation of spraying mists, sanding dusts, and concentrated vapors.”

We add these precautions because it is just good general hygiene when working with any chemicals.  Most consumers are not aware that most chemicals have not been fully investigated for chronic toxicity. Other companies may choose to label a very similar product as simply non-toxic, and according to Federal standards, this is absolutely fine.  We simply chose a different path, and if someone should choose not to use our colors because of the information we provide that is certainly their choice, but it is certainly not a safer one.




Comment from Mark Thomas
Time: June 5, 2009, 2:47 am

I had a similar concern about a year ago. I had used up all of my chromium oxide green and went to the store to buy another tube. At the store, I noticed that the Golden tube had a cancer warning on it, but none of the other brands did. I wondered what it was that made the Golden more toxic, but in the end I bought it anyway. I like that Golden is more honest in this regard, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it has cost some sales.

Comment from Gemma Smith
Time: June 29, 2009, 6:55 pm

I was relieved to find the warning labels on the Fluid Acrylics I purchased. These labels did not make me think that Golden paint is any more toxic than any other brand, but rather that Golden takes safety seriously… and is more honest. When I am painting, I can become forgetful and lapse about taking proper precautions relating to the toxicity of chemicals. In the three years that I’ve been using Golden, I have been so much more cautious and considered in my approach to the chemicals in my studio. I always wear gloves, and allow for cross ventilation. The warning labels have been really great for my health! And, I always mention the warnings as a feature when I am telling someone about Golden. Thanks.

Comment from Mark
Time: July 6, 2009, 9:54 am

I must admit, when I first started making paint with my father, I was not the least concerned with mixing up pigment without ventilation or dust collection. And never wore any gloves as I put the formulations together or tested the finished paints with my fingers. This was the way it was done and anyway we were using waterbased paints… what could be safer? Anyway, it felt like some mark of the trade to finish up a days work as if mining in some incredibly psychedelic coal mine.

Today, staff dress up in Tyvec suits with hoods and particle masks, in an enclosed ventilated mixing cell. No one does quality control with their fingers without gloves. The paints have not become anymore dangerous, but in our lives we are exposed to such a toxic soup of chemicals that are out of our control. Within this facility we have control to be able to reduce the exposure to all materials. Given that we have all these protections in place for all staff here, how could we not share some of these warnings of use or misuse of our materials with our customers. Maybe some of it is overwarning, especially if your use of the materials is fairly limited. But for those artists that are in their studio everyday, and sometimes everynight. With yards and yards of painting surface evaporating into the enclosed space. I believe anything we can suggest to reduce your exposure to these chemicals is going to benefit us all in the long run. I’m sure we will lose some customers because of our greater warnings on our products. I’m more concerned of losing customers because we were not cautious!

Comment from Latifah Shay
Time: July 31, 2009, 8:54 am

Hi Mark, Forgive me if I just don’t see this but… Would you add an option to sign up for RSS feed? I would like to have an easier way to keep track of your blog. Thank you very much. Latifah Shay

Comment from Beth
Time: August 9, 2009, 6:29 pm

I am probably commenting on the wrong subject but I can’t figure out just where to comment.
I am having trouble finding Golden Acrylic Glazing Medium at either Jerry’s Artarama or ASW Express -both art stores do not list pint or quart sizes of this medium on their sites. The smallest size they list is 32 oz. Golden Glazing Liquid.
Is Golden Glazing Liquid the same thing as Golden Glazing Medium?
Where can I find smaller size of Golden Glazing Medium?
Thanks for your help.

Comment from
Time: August 31, 2009, 1:30 pm

Hi Beth,
I hope someone answered your comment before now, but, if not, the medium you’re looking for is called Acrylic Glazing Liquid…even ‘tho some art supply stores and online sellers call it Acrylic Glazing Medium.
Check the item #: as long as it has item # 3720 (for gloss) or #3721 (for satin) you’re getting Golden Acrylic Glazing Liquid.
I hope that helps.

Comment from Nicholas Wilton
Time: January 29, 2010, 5:29 pm

Mark- I have spoken with you in the past regarding finishes…I am an artist and teach workshops here in the US and abroad. I use some of your products in my workshops but thought if I could talk with you more- receive Golden Materials I could help sell your products. I am very experienced in all acrylic paints and most of your glazes etc. but feel we could benefit each other. Feel free to call me anytime- Nicholas W 415 488 4710

Comment from Jonathan Snowball
Time: December 17, 2015, 9:48 pm

Hello Mark

I agree that most paints have a toxic component and any worthwhile artists paints are dangerous to ingest.

The real danger is the hidden danger. We know about the toxicity of pigments. We know about the danger of
breathing the atomised paint if spraying.

But Golden paints carry no information in terms of hydrocarbons in the vapours. I assume there is something present other than water vapour in the evaporating Golden paint because it has a distinct methyl odour.

It would be helpful to know what this vapour is as I have just purchased a set of Golden paints.

Other paint brands that carry hydrocarbons in the mix (oils primarily) always mention it on the tube jacket.

Acrylic paints historically dry matt and the only vapour component is water unless something is added for smell or to prevent bacterial growth.

It seems the thing that makes Golden superior is the gloss factor after drying, and to get this there is a whole new dimension to the Golden paint and something in the vapour that I would like to be made aware of for my own health and safety, please.


Comment from Mark
Time: December 18, 2015, 10:58 am

Dear Jonathan, thanks for your question. There is nothing more important than the health and safety of our customers and employee/owners at Golden Artist Colors. Should there be any material that poses an acute or chronic health hazard, it would be and is required to be listed on the label. For other information you might be interested in reviewing, we have the most complete resource in our industry to our Health and Safety information as well as Technical information on our website. I’ve listed some of the resources for your convenience below. To your question, what you may be smelling in the paint is propylene glycol and ammonia. Every acrylic paint will have a minute level of free acrylic monomer vapour. Every batch of acrylic coming into our facility is evaluated for any excess unreacted monomer. I hope this and the resources below will help to answer your questions. If not, please don’t hesitate to contact us to speak to our Director of Safety and Regulatory Compliance, Ben Gavett. Best, Mark

Comment from Laura Polanco
Time: December 5, 2016, 1:15 pm

My concerns are more to do with how these acrylic paints affect the environment when they are washed down the drains and into our rivers, streams or earth. Is this being considered at all? Thank you for replying. Laura Polanco

Comment from Mark
Time: December 5, 2016, 3:11 pm

Laura great question! As we’ve shared, this is certainly a concern here in the facility. Every bit of acrylic paint that is washed down the drain in our factory is treated. First by creating flocks of acrylic, pigments and other solids. Then by running them through a filter press. This allows us to capture and dry out all these materials, so they don’t become part of the fluid waste stream. Then all of our water is run through a reverse osmosis system so we can reuse our water several times. 25% of the water that is free of acrylic and other solids, then has to be transported to an approved sewage waste system to remove other contaminants including those generated by bacteriological activity.
For consumers who are on a municipal facility, the same sort of separation of the acrylic solids would typically be performed. First flocking of the solids and then filtering.
For those of us without municipal systems, we’ve generated an easy to use system for individuals to do something very low tech that would create the same sort of separation of the acrylic solids, allowing an artist to simply pour down their drains water without acrylic. The acrylic is then left to dry on the filter paper. Take a look for our water separation system on our website. Best, Mark

Comment from Holly
Time: August 1, 2017, 6:28 pm

I see so many craft people finger painting with acrylics these days, despite warnings (from eg commenters on youtube videos). They do art journal pages mainly, occasionally canvas. I never paint with my fingers. How concerning is this really? Thanks for responding.

Comment from Mark
Time: August 2, 2017, 8:18 am

Holly, thanks so much for the question. Let me first give an appropriate disclaimer… Artists should be following general rules of safety and avoid contact with chemicals that are not approved for skin contact. Artist paints are made by formulating with a range of chemicals, including resins, pigments, thickeners, defoamers, preservatives, wetting agents. Many of these materials might be similar to those found in food and cosmetics, but other are not! All artist materials with the ASTM D4236 designation have been evaluated by a board certified toxicologist. If the product does not have a specific warning on it and contains the ASTM statement, then it is assumed that under normal use they are quite safe to use, but I’d caution anyone to simply suggest they are non-toxic. Non-toxic — Meaning under any condition of use or misuse that they present no potential for harm.
In reality all of us working with paint get the product on our hands. There is no evidence that occasional contact will cause an acute or chronic adverse condition. But personally I would avoid regular contact with any artist paint. All of our staff wear gloves when working with the paint. Given the amount of chemicals in our environment that we have no control over, when we can exercise control, I would caution artists to use that control and reduce hand contact with their materials.
Any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 1800-959-6543. Our Director of Regulatory Affairs, Ben Gavett is one of the most well versed professionals in the field of health and safety in the arts. I know he’d be glad to answer any of your questions as well. Best, Mark

Comment from Peter Reid
Time: September 25, 2018, 4:25 pm

what is the function of glycol in acrylic polymer, is it toxic, I believe the percentage is fairly low

Write a comment