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Do you have any worries about using polymer clay?

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  • Do you have any worries about using polymer clay?

    Hello All,
    I was wondering do you have any concerns about using polymer clay? I was all set to get back into making stuff with polymer clay (I used to make stuff years ago) to the point where I went and bought some Sculpey Studio clay and was shocked and worried by the warning on the side re polymer clay and known side effects of birth defects (as per state of california). As I am hoping to have my first child in the next year or so this totally put me off using the clay and so I thought I would ask you if this concerned you or what your experience had been.
    I know that I am asking this of people who obviously use polymer clay so it can't have put you off but I am interested in your feelings on the subject as I love the medium but I now have concerns!
    I look forward to hearing your opinions and feelings on the subject

  • #2
    Simple rules keep you safe

    Wash your hands after creating with it.
    Don't eat it!!
    Do not burn it!!!!!!! (that's when the nasty fumes are given off)
    keep any utensils stricktly for polymer.
    Never prepare food with them.
    Sand with wet sand paper to stop you inhaling dust.

    Calafornia have incredibly strict laws about things. They also have major warnings on memory wire, which most of us use with out a thought.
    full time mum and very very part time crafter.


    • #3
      Thank you for your super quick reply...I can promise you I have no intention of eating it on purpose or by munching while I work Everything you said makes total sense...I guess with my family plans and the warning I got a little freaked out! The sanding with wet paper is a great tip...I had never needed to sand in the past (I was just messing about with it back then) but that is a really good idea!

      I have read a lot about you use a seperate little oven or those roasting bags?


      • #4
        I just use my normal cooker.
        I always shut the door to the kitchen and open the window and put on the dehumidifier. If I had an oven hood I'd turn that on.
        After I have cooked the polymer, I turn the oven up higher and leave the ventilation on for half an hour.
        full time mum and very very part time crafter.


        • #5
          Because of the amount of work I do with polymer clay I have my own little oven in my craft room.
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          • #6
            Originally posted by Pauline@weddingtreasures View Post
            Because of the amount of work I do with polymer clay I have my own little oven in my craft room.
            Me too but purely because of the amount of beads I "cook". I must admit I haven't had any safety issues with polymer but hopefully Emma will be along soon to put us straight.

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            • #7
              Thank you all for your responses you read so much on the internet that it can put you off doing anything at all!


              • #8
                I have to admit that I have not any reason for any safety issue for the amount of work/cooking I do with polymer/fimo - which is almost on a daily basis for up to 5 hours at a time.

                I've been using it now for over five years and apart from one bad moment when a caravan and pair of toppers got burnt on the top I've had no mishaps. This by the way was the fault of my mini oven when the stop button decided to break down at the same time as the temp button!! Was not a happy bunny and the smell was just awful.

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                • #9
                  I use my oven for baking polymer clay quite a bit and I haven't had any adverse effects yet. I think the main tip is not to use the same baking sheet as you use to cook your chicken nuggetts on!


                  • #10
                    I really think this is one subject where people just have to draw their own conclusions.

                    I personally don't worry about the safety aspect. And I am quite neurotic about chemicals and stuff in terms of what I eat, what products I use on my body etc because I seem to manage to have some sort of allergy / intolerance to all sorts of things.

                    I have always baked clay, uncovered, in my home oven and as I always say, I haven't grown that third nipple yet!

                    But - none of us have a crystal ball and who knows what we may discover down the line. If baking in a separate oven or baking items covered feels right to you, it doesn't really matter what others do - you have to do what you feel comfortable with.

                    I know that if i could find a separate oven that baked reliably for me, I would use it in a heartbeat. Only for the convenience of having it in my studio though, not really out of any safety fears.

                    I personally feel the residue left over from oven cleaners and stuff like that is scarier. I can taste that in my food if I bake stuff in the oven too soon after cleaning it. I have never noticed any such issues with polymer clay. And the inference is obvious - one should never clean ovens ;-)

                    Polymer clays have been around since the 1930s in one form or another. They really are a child of the Bakelite age where all sorts of plastic fantastics were being created. They have somewhat different ingredients now, since the banning of phthalates from childrens toys, but the clays have always been broadly similar and I have never yet heard of any genuine health concerns over them.

                    It is always worth remembering they are classified and therefore tested for safety, as a childs toy under European law. They are designed to be baked in a normal domestic oven and the manufacturers have never suggested items need to be covered.

                    The only safety caveats I have ever seen are to ensure the product is not over-heated. Because they can release toxic fumes if burned. But that is different from the normal aroma of baking clay and easily avoidable if you take care and always use an oven thermometer.
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                    • #11
                      I used to use a turkey roasting bag but don't really bother now. You can re-use it over and over again. I used to be worried about fumes so opened the roasting bag outside.

                      Here's my old set-up...

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