Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 5: Facilities, Supplies, Equipment, and Environmental Health

5.2 Quality of the Outdoor and Indoor Environment

5.2.1 Ventilation, Heating, Cooling, and Hot Water Ventilation When Using Art Materials

Areas where arts and crafts activities are conducted should be well-ventilated. Materials that create toxic fumes or gases such as spray adhesives and paints should not be used when children are present.Safety Data Sheets (SDS) should be obtained and kept for all chemicals used.
Some art and craft supplies contain toxic ingredients, including possible human carcinogens, creating a significant risk to the health and well-being of children. Art supplies containing toxic chemicals can also produce fumes that trigger asthma, allergies, headaches, and nausea (1). Art and craft materials should conform to all applicable ACMI safety standards. Materials should be labeled in accordance with the chronic hazard labeling standard, ASTM D4236-94(2005) (1). Children in grade six and lower should only use non-toxic art and craft materials (1,2). Labels are required on art supplies to identify any hazardous ingredients, risks associated with their use, precautions, first aid, and sources of further information.
Staff should be educated to the possibility that some children may have special vulnerabilities to certain art materials (such as children with asthma or allergies). Not allowing food and drink near supplies prevents the possible cross contamination of materials and reduces potential injuries from poisoning. For more information on poisoning, contact the poison center at 1-800-222-1222 begin of the skype highlighting 1-800-222-1222 end of the skype highlighting.

See the How Asthma Friendly is Your Child Care Setting? checklist at to learn more about creating an asthma-friendly indoor environment.

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RELATED STANDARDS Proper Use of Art and Craft Materials
  1. Art and Creative Materials Institute. 2010. Safety - what you need to know.
  2. Art and Creative Materials Institute, Arts, Crafts, and Theater Safety, Inc., National Art Education Association, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Art and craft safety guide. Bethesda, MD: CPSC.