EU Red Tape set to tarnish Cadmium

I wanted to blog about the Polish artist who paints Kim Kardashian portraits with his penis, but that’s about the whole story, so instead I am drawing your attention to possible restrictions on the use of Cadmium by the European Union, which means eventually painters might be left without one of their most brilliant pigments – initially in the old continent at least. The ‘Art Newspaper’ reports that due to an environmental report from Sweden claiming toxic amounts of cadmium seeping into the water supply, the European Union is considering banning all cadmium pigments in paint. This is the metal used in high end Cadmium Reds, Oranges and Yellows that are among the most vibrant and brightest pigments available to a painter’s palette. Artists however are feeling  like scapegoats for manufacturers who produce Nickel Cadmium batteries, where they claim the real problem lies. The European Chemical Agency (known by its acronym ECHA) will be deciding this month of December whether to institute a complete ban on cadmium in the EU based on the report from Sweden.  Aren’t there recycling laws in Europe to address the battery issue or agencies monitoring the battery factories to ensure environmental compliance before punishing artists for such minute amounts? According to Reach, an EU body that counsels on chemicals, the cadmium compounds used by artists in paint is not hazardous.  Yet every artist should be aware that cadmium is a toxic substance and consciously include or exclude it from their palette for environmental reasons.  There seem to be no equal non-toxic alternative to cadmium pigments –  natural or synthetic – just a series of lesser approximations such as Naphthol red. This whole issue however seems more like politicians sweeping artists up with the real culprits in order to lessen the blow against their corporate sponsors. Yes this sounds like politics as usual with artists about ready to get the shaft before corporations are controlled or adequate studies conducted… are you shocked? I am SHOCKED! NOT.