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Pollution Prevention for Arts Education: Glossary of Terms
Table of Contents
Background and Overview
Reasons for Change
Health Effects
Regulations and Policies
P2 Opportunities
Consumer Education
Glossary of Terms
Green Products
Key Contacts
Complete List of Links

Essential Links:

Art and Creative Materials Institute
ACMI is recognized as a leading authority on art and craft materials, and they emphasize providing t...

Arts and Crafts Can Be Hazardous
Craft materials are listed that contain toxic or harmful chemicals along, with some information on r...

Dictionary of Toxins
This list identifies primary health and environmental concerns for hazardous materials frequently us...

Glossary of Terms
More than 50 common terms associated with toxicity and art are defined in easy-to-understand languag...

This list provides definitions for a variety of health-related terms with regards to art and craft m...

<big><b>Pollution Prevention for Arts Education Glossary of Terms </b></big>

Key terms and language commonly used in pollution prevention, public health, and art education are defined in the following list. While this is not a complete list, it will provide quick access to frequently used language. Links to additional, more comprehensive glossaries are provided. Commonly used synonyms are listed in parenthesis.

ACMI Certification Products:
"Products bearing any of these labels have had a toxicological evaluation by a medical expert and have been reviewed by The Arts and Creative Materials Institute (ACMI) Toxicological Advisory Board. These products are certified by ACMI to be labeled in accordance with the chronic hazard labeling standard, ASTM D 4236 and Federal law, P.L. 100-695." 1

ACMI (Art & Craft Materials Institute) Seals:
ACMI is a non-profit association of manufacturers of art, craft, and creative materials. The association ensures that products are safe through toxicology assessments and provides rating seals for art materials.

Acute generally refers to a short-term exposure of fairly high concentrations, which leads to some adverse health conditions.

Adequate ventilation:
Adequate ventilation is provided through a constant exchange of fresh air. Typically this is achieved through a mechanical process of replacing contaminated air every 15 to 20 minutes with fresh air.

Art material:
Art material is "any substance marketed or represented by the producer or repackager as suitable for use in any phase of creation of any work of visual or graphic art of any medium." 2

Asbestos is a fibrous, non-combustible mineral formed from silicate minerals that have been mined for their useful properties such as thermal insulation, chemical and thermal stability, and high-tensile strength; often used for fireproofing. Inhalation of the fibers can cause asbestosis or lung cancer.

AP (Approved Products) Seal :
"The AP Seal states that the product bearing this seal is certified by the Art & Craft Materials Institute (ACMI) to contain no materials in sufficient quantities to be toxic or injurious to humans or to cause chronic or acute health problems. These products are safe to use in the classroom, even with young children." 1

This colorless, flammable hydrocarbon derives from petroleum and is an inhalation hazard. The vapor is harmful and may create serious respiratory problems; considered harmful or fatal if swallowed,and/or it is a known carcinogen.

Caustic materials (especially strong acids) are capable of corroding or dissolving substances through strong chemical actions.

Certified non-toxic:
Materials that carry ACMI Seals CP, AP, or HL have been evaluated by qualified toxicologists for hazards and determined to be safe for young children to handle.

Chemical property:
An attribute used to describe how a substance interacts with another involving a chemical change that changes the identity of the original substance.

In the context of this topic hub, chronic refers to a long-term exposure of fairly low concentrations, which can lead to some adverse health effects.

CL (Cautionary Label) Seal :
"Products bearing the CL Cautionary Label Seal have health warnings associated with them and are not recommended for use around young children. These products should be used with caution and adult supervision is recommended."1

Conforms to ASTM D-4236:
"Products that carry this statement conform to the labeling standards of the Hazardous Art Materials Act. If the product is non-toxic, then no warning needs to be included on the label. However, if the product is found to carry acute or chronic health hazards,the information on the label must alert the consumer to those hazards." 1

CP Seal (Certified Product):
"Products bearing the new the CP Certified Seal are certified in a program of toxicological evaluation by a medical expert to contain no materials in sufficient quantities to be toxic or injurious to humans or to cause acute or chronic health problems. 1

Dermal exposure:
The body is exposed to a hazard through skin.

The degree of ease in which something ignites and burns.

Hazardous material:
A chemical for which there is statistically significant evidence based on at least one study conducted in accordance with established scientific principles that acute or chronic health effects may occur in exposed employees (or people). OSHA defines it as a chemical that has a physical hazard or a health hazard. 3

HL/CR (Health Label/Cautions Required) Seal:
"Products bearing the Health Label (Cautions Required) Seal (HL/CR) of the Art & Creative Materials Institute, Inc. (ACMI) are certified in a program of toxicological evaluation by a medical expert to be properly labled. This program is reviewed by ACMI's Toxicological Advisory Board. These products are certified by ACMI to be labeled in accordance with the chronic hazard labeling standard, ASTM D-4236 and Federal Law, P.L. 100-696. Products bearing the CL or HL/CR Seals bear appropriate ingredient and cautionary labeling and safe use instructions."1

Human carcinogen:
A known human carcinogen means there is sufficient evidence of a cause-and-effect relationship between exposure to the material and cancer in humans. 3

Hazardous materials can enter the body through the airways and lungs by way of inhalation. Smoke, fumes, spray mists, dust, particulate matter, and vapors typically enter through inhalation.

Least-toxic substances present minimal toxicity risks when compared to alternative options, although some risk remains and temporary and/or minor injury could occur if label warnings are not observed.

LHAMA (1988):
"Labeling of Hazardous Art Materials Certification, this law requires that all art materials be reviewed to determine the potential for causing a chronic hazard and that appropriate warning labels be put on those art materials." 2

Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS):
MSDS is a widely used acronym for material safety data sheets. These contain details of the hazards associated with chemicals and gives information on their safe uses. These are becoming available for all art materials.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA):
OSHA is charged with the responsiblity of assuring the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards.

Organic solvent:
These are chemical compounds, generally liquids, that contain carbon and are used to dissolve another substance.

Personal Protective Equipment Standards (PPE Standards):
These are guidelines established for employees working in hazardous environments. Employees are required to wear specific gear, depending upon the hazard. This can include goggles, respirators, and gloves. The standard established varies according to the degree of hazard and type of risk.

Physical property:
This is an attribute used to characterize the physical condition of an object, such as its temperature, flexibility, weight, or color.

Silica is a crystalline compound present in quartz and sand and in processed materials such as concrete and glass. It is generally white or colorless.

A solvent is a substance, usually liquid, used to dissolve another substance. Water is a solvent often used to dissolve salt or sugar.

Source reduction:
Source reduction involves reducing the amount of waste from the beginning of a process with the goal of limiting the amount of waste at the conclusion of a project and eliminating the amount of waste going to a landfill.

Stability defines a substance that is resistant to change and has a constant, dependable character and/or property.

Toxic material:
A toxic material is capable of causing injury, health problems, or death, usually through exposure to chemicals or poisons.

Zero waste management:
Achieving the condition of generating no waste, incorporating any potential waste in other uses, or preventing waste in all steps of a process produces zero waste management.

1 United Art and Education, Product Health and Safety Information (
2 Consumer Product Safety Alert(
3 The MSDS Hyper Glossary(


The Topic Hub™ is a product of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx)

The Pollution Prevention for Arts Education Topic Hub™ was developed by:

Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable
Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable
Contact email:

Hub Last Updated: 7/31/2009

GLRPPR is a member of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange, a national network of regional information centers: NEWMOA (Northeast), WRRC (Southeast), GLRPPR (Great Lakes), ZeroWasteNet (Southwest), P2RIC (Plains), Peaks to Prairies (Mountain), WSPPN (Pacific Southwest), PPRC (Northwest).


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