Pretty Poison

I love stained glass.  It is so beautiful when  it the sunlight beans through, showing bright rays of multicolored light. I recently heard that stained glass used to be brighter and also poisonous. This is because they used chemicals that weren’t safe for the workers. The majority of the colors were ones used in a flame test lab I did during class, like strontium. One I remember that was used in stained glass was arsenic, though I could  be mistaken. Despite the fact that there aren’t as many chemicals in stained glass, there are still other threats as well.

One big threat is lead poisoning. According to the American Journal of Industrialized Medicine, people who work with stained glass for a living are at twice the risk for lead exposure than a hobbyist or someone with stained glass fixtures in the home. One website writes, “Most cases of lead poisoning are triggered by the ingestion of lead, or the inhalation of lead fumes or dust. Fumes are caused by soldering with lead, and the higher the temperature, the more fumes are released. Dust is created by the dismantling of old frames, where wood and plaster that had absorbed lead through years of contact are cut apart. The lead-containing sawdust becomes airborne, where it can easily be inhaled.” Due to this risk, you might want to learn more about the symptoms and how to prevent getting sick from stained glass.

Some symptoms of lead poisoning are severe abdominal pain, as well as headaches, constipation, irritability and decreased appetite. These symptoms can become worse as the concentration of lead in the bloodstream builds up over time. This lead can build up when there is repeated exposure of stained glass.

Prevention of lead poisoning is of utmost importance. One way to limit lead poisoning is to limit the exposure. You should also ventilate  areas with stained glass or when working on it. Also, wash all skin before touching your mouth or face. Also, you should wash surfaces with damp rags, as many times lead poisoning is caused by dust. Another thing that can help prevent lead poisoning is to wash clothes worn will working with it.

Learning about lead poisoning in stained glass is important, because many churches in temples as well as other very fancy places often contain stained glass. In addition, when it comes to your health, being prepared is never a bad thing.


So ta ta for now and I hope to see your chemical reaction soon!


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