I sent an E-mail to Monona Rossol, an industrial hygienist, and asked if we need material safety sheets for products bearing one of the Arts & Crafts Materials Institute's seals.  My questions are shown below in black.  Her answers are in red.

Hello Ms. Rossol.

> I am responsible for obtaining material safety data sheets for my
> employer, a school district.  I know we are required to have the MSDS on
> hand for hazardous chemicals.  So far, I would try to obtain an MSDS for
> any product that had one.  Many products that are safe have an MSDS.
> Some of them just say the product is safe and may refer to the fact that
> the product has the Arts and Crafts Materials Institute's "CP NONTOXIC"
> or "AP NONTOXIC" label. <

I have repeatedly explained to the ASTM D-4236 subcommittee that this is an
illegal method of withholding information on an MSDS.  I think many
manufacturers will be changing this kind of MSDS soon.

The reason it is illegal is that amounts of chemicals that would have to be
reported by law on an MSDS can be in present in AP and CP seal products
without warning labels!  The toxicologist that certifies the product's label
"decides" that the exposure under "normal" use is not hazardous.

Let me give you an example.  Toxic substances in quantities of even 1 % must
be reported on MSDSs.  But marking pens that contain 10, 15, even 20 % of
toxic solvents may have the AP or CP seal.   And the manufacturers have not
been reporting this amount of solvent on MSDS's for those pens in direct
violation of the law.

I have made it clear to the ASTM subcommittee that the Labeling of Hazardous
Art Materials Act  under which AP and CA products are labeled is a consumer
law enforced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.  This law and the AP,
CP seal program should not be referenced on an MSDSs which are regulated by
a different agency: the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

> It would be nice not to have to keep so many sheets on hand.  Each or our
> schools currently has several binders of MSDSs taking up about 8" of shelf
> space.  With this in mind, here is my question.
> If we purchase a product which is labeled with the Arts and Crafts
> Materials Institute's "CP NONTOXIC" or "AP NONTOXIC" label, must I still
> attempt to get an MSDS for the product?  Doesn't the CP or AP label
> itself declare the product is not hazardous, and therefore not subject
> to "right-to-know" regulations? <

The OSHA Hazard Communication Standard says you do not have to have an MSDS
on a product sold as a "non-toxic" consumer product.  The law says that you
only need them on consumer products that are used in amounts greater
than an ordinary consumer would use them or in ways different than directed.

However, this exemption in the law was written for *adult* *workers* and you
have a constituency of *children.*  You also have "high risk" children with
asthma and other health problems.

And art materials often are used other than directed.  For example, I have
made it clear to Crayola that they need MSDSs on their crayons because they
know that teachers commonly heat or melt crayons, make candles from them,
iron them onto fabric, and do other "non-directed" projects with them.  When
you melt crayons, you create some very toxic gases and vapors from both the
wax and from some types of pigments.  This needs to be stated in the
"decomposition products" section of the MSDS.

I think you should have MSDSs on all the art materials because:

1) the art materials are often used "creatively" and "experimentally" in ways
other than directed;

2) children are exposed to them;

3) children with chronic diseases and allergies may be exposed; and

4) "non-toxic" art products can actually contain amounts of toxic substances
that OSHA would require to be reported on MSDSs.

Sorry for the rather long explanation, but it is not a short answer
question.  If you need more information, get in touch again.

Monona Rossol, industrial hygienist
Arts, Crafts and Theater Safety
181 Thompson St.,  # 23
New York NY 10012-2586    212/777-0062