Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

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

5.2 Quality of the Outdoor and Indoor Environment

5.2.9 Prevention and Management of Toxic Substances Proper Use of Art and Craft Materials

Only art and craft materials that are approved by the Art and Creative Materials Institute (ACMI) should be used in the child care facility. 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.

The facility should prohibit use of unlabeled, improperly labeled old, or donated materials with potentially harmful ingredients.

Caregivers/teachers should closely supervise all children using art and craft materials and should make sure art and craft materials are properly used, cleaned up, and stored in original containers that are fully labeled. Materials should be age-appropriate. Children should not eat or drink while using art and craft materials.

Caregivers/teachers should have emergency protocols in place in the event of an injury, poisoning, or allergic reaction. If caregivers/teachers suspect a poisoning may have occurred they should call their poison center at 1-800-222-1222. Rooms should be well ventilated while using art and craft materials.

Only ACMI-approved unscented water-based markers should be used for children’s art projects and work.

Contamination and injury may occur if art and craft materials are improperly used or labeled. Labels are required on art supplies to identify any hazardous ingredients, risks associated with their use, precautions, first aid, and sources of further information (1).

Art material, approved by the ACMI, has been tested for both chronic and acute health hazards. The ACMI AP (Approved Product) Seal, with or without Performance Certification, identifies art materials that are safe and that are certified in a toxicological evaluation by a medical expert to contain no materials in sufficient quantities to be toxic or injurious to humans, including children, or to cause acute or chronic health problems. This seal is currently replacing the previous non-toxic seals: CP (Certified Product), AP (Approved Product), and HL Health Label (Non-Toxic) over a ten-year phase-in period. Such products are certified by ACMI to be labeled in accordance with the chronic hazard labeling standard, ASTM D4236, and the U.S. Labeling of Hazardous Art Materials Act (LHAMA). Additionally, products bearing the AP Seal with Performance Certification or the CP Seal are certified to meet specific requirements of material, workmanship, working qualities, and color developed by ACMI and others through recognized standards organizations, such as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and ASTM International. Some products cannot attain this performance certification because no quality standard currently exists for certain types of products (1).

Children have been known to try and eat fruit-scented markers. Solvent-based/permanent markers can trigger headaches and/or asthma (3).

Non-toxic art and craft supplies intended for children are readily available.

Some products labeled “non-toxic” are not necessarily a safer alternative; thus the need to check for the proper labeling.

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RELATED STANDARDS Ventilation When Using Art Materials
  1. Art and Creative Materials Institute. 2010. Safety - what you need to know.
  2. Fiene, R. 2002. 13 indicators of quality child care: Research update. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation.
  3. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Art and craft safety guide. Bethesda, MD: CPSC.