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to the photons, the physical world would not hold together and that the organism’s use of it for purposes of information is only a clever secondary adaptation. HAZARDOUS CHEMICALS DESK REFERENCE by N. Irving Sax and Richard J. Lewis, Sr. Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, NY, U.S.A., 1987. 1084 pp., illus. Trade, $69.95. ISBN: 0-442-28208-7. Reviewed by Joy Turner Luke, Studio 231, Box 18 Route 1, Sperryville, VA 22740. U.S.A. One of the authors of this valuable reference work, N. Irving Sax, is also the author of Dangerous Properties of Industria/ Materials, which is in its sixth edition and is considered a standard reference in the field. The other author, Richard J. Lewis, Sr., is the former manager of Information Systems for the (U.S.)National Institutefor Occupational Safety and Health. Together they have compiled a thorough book that is also well cross-referencedand easy to consult. It should be pointed out that the background of both authors isin industrial health hazards. Most other reference works on health hazards also apply to industrial exposure. The government has given priority to the necessity of warning about hazards that endanger numerous employees. Workers are often exposed to large amounts of chemicals and these are often in a more hazardous form than those with which the general public comes in contact. This means that the information in this book has limited value to the individual artist or to the general public whose contact is with consumer products. There is a definite need for a reference work detailing the hazards of consumer products. Such a work does not exist because the necessary research has not been done. Current articles and books aimed at the artist and craftsperson are based on information in books such as Sax’s, which depend in turn on studieson the health effects of chemicals found in factories. The hazard posed by handling the componentsof a product may be very different from that of handling the finished product. A chemical in the final product may be bound in a form that is not bioavailable, or there may be a synergistic or antagonistic interaction between components. Of the three general hazards, i.e. acute toxicity, chronic toxicity and fire or explosion hazards, this book gives most information on the risk of fire and explosion. Fire is a major hazard where chemicalsare transported or used in large quantities; however, the average person is most in need of information about chronic hazards,since consumer products are already adequately labeled for acute health effects and for fire and explosion hazards. The art and craftsupplyindustry, in cooperation with National Artists Equity Association and government agencies, has begun putting warning statements about chronic health hazards and safe-handling instructions on its products. This is a big step forward, but good reference and educational books are still needed. This book will be most directly useful to individuals who employ industrial materials and processes. This includes many sculptors and experimental artists. It also includes people who work in environments where exposure can reach the levels expected in a factory, for instance, a studio where groups of printmakers work. It is vital that those who work with industrial rather than consumer products use the precautions that have been found necessary for safety in the work place. The book also has value for anyone working in the arts and crafts; however, it will be difficult for people who are not chemists or health professionals to interpret the information. For instance, penicillin is given the highest danger rating of 3: “Poison by intraperitoneal and subcutaneous routes. Moderately toxic by intravenous route. Has been implicated in aplastic anemia. When heated to decomposition it emits very toxic fumes... .” Most people do not handle penicillin in a form or quantity that makes these warnings relevant. All the cadmium compounds are given the samehigh hazard rating. Several cadmium compounds are present in art supplies in different forms and in varying degrees of solubility. Some present imminent risks, while others are not bioavailable. In other words, this is a quick reference book for the health professional and requires an extra level of interpretation for the layperson. Nevertheless, it...


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