(I’m not an expert by any means, just an oil paint lover growing concerned with her health and has done some internet research.)
—Products that have the ‘AP’ in a circle from the ACMI, Art and Creative Materials Institute, means that they have been tested by toxicologist and medical experts and that they are Non-Toxic.
—Products with the ‘CL’ in a circle from the ACMI, Art and Creative Materials Institute, means that they have been tested by toxicologist and medical experts and that they do contain toxins, but if used appropriately, are ok.
—Products that say ‘Conforms to ASTM D 4236’ means that the United States has tested the product for its toxicity, and is required to add a ‘caution’ or ‘warning’ label such as: ‘This product contains cadmium, a chemical known to the state of California to cause cancer by means of inhalation.’ Or ‘No health label required.’
—‘Known to the state of California to cause cancer or birth defects,’ Is because of Proposition 65, which makes it a law to place a label on anything that contains a chemical that has been tested and proven to cause cancer and birth defects.
The good news is that a few alternatives products don’t have these labels. I have used Turpenoid, or the Mona Lisa Odorless Paint thinner to clean my brushes, which has the brain and nerve damage label. But there is a non-toxic kind called Turpenoid Natural, more expensive, but way safer.
I mix Liquin Mediom into my paints, it has the CL, and I’ve read that Walnut Alkyd Medium is a comparable product without the CL stamp.
The catch is sometimes there are products that have the ‘Conforms to ASTM D 4236’ and ‘No health label required’ … so how come they don’t have an ACMI stamp? I’m trying to find out, and will post again if I do.
Another tip- appropriate ventilation requires 2 fans in your work area. One to suck the bad air out and shoot it outside, and the other to pull in fresh air into the work area.
Like I said, I’m not an expert so do your own research and if you learn anything more or different that what I’ve posted here please let me know!