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Postby Andre Jute » Fri Oct 30, 2015 8:44 pm

This arrived from my arts materials pushers, Jackson's in London. Frightening what the bureaucrats in Brussels can get up to, especially when pushed by a bunch of dumb Swedes trying to drain the glee from everyone's life.



Dear Andre,

Yesterday afternoon, the European Commission issued its communication confirming that it will not adopt a REACH restriction on cadmium in artists' paints, which would have seen cadmium colours effectively banned in Europe.


In 2013/14 the EU's Chemical Agency responded to a Scandinavian request that attempted to reduce the quantity of cadmium batteries sent to land-fill waste across Europe. Alarmingly the proposed legislation made no allowance for the entirely safe cadmium compounds used in artists' paints and if successfully adopted would have seen cadmium banned from use by European paint makers. Without concerted and urgent effort, artists would have been deprived of the vibrant cadmium yellows, reds and oranges that have formed an essential part of the professional palette since the 1840's!

How we did it

Co-ordinating the campaign were Spectrum Paints, a comparatively small UK paint maker. Their size meant they were unrestricted by legal departments and press officers, so Michael Craine, Rachel Volpé and Angela Brown set about raising awareness and speaking with the EU through the paint maker's trade organisation CEPE. Artists & Illustrators Magazine was an early supporter and joined the campaign to spread the word and encourage individual artists to contact the ECHA with their views. Michael Craine recalls, "It was a fascinating time through which we had a growing sense that perhaps the strength of our argument might win through. As a result of the Artists & Illustrators publicity and further excellent blogging by Jackson's Art and other enthusiasts and supporters, the story went global! We were contacted by British broad-sheet newspapers, the story was taken up by Emma-Jane Kirby of the BBC who interviewed me for broadcast on Radio 4's PM program. We made it onto the BBC news. We appeared in the media in the USA, South Africa, Australia and the French and German press".

What happened?

The European Chemical Agency ECHA were impressed with the art world's reasonable, informed and strongly-held view that pigments such as Cadmium Sulphate are indispensible to artists - perfectly safe, perfectly strong, wonderfully lightfast and producing unique shades. There are imitations but no replacements! Rachel Volpé of Spectrum Paints comments that, "whilst we discussed the technical case for cadmium pigments, many artists were passionately able to stress the economic and artistic importance of cadmiums as they uniquely bring a warmth, light, strength and colour to paintings that stands the test of time".

Have we won just a temporary reprieve?

Michael from Spectrum writes, "this is more than a reprieve. The ECHA recognise our case and acknowledge the substance of our arguments. This astonishing collaboration has taken up a great deal of time for me over the last two years and innumerable emails, meetings and conversations, but it was worth it!" Not only is the change of heart over cadmium a joyous occasion in its own right, the fact that the artist fraternity is recognised as a community in its own right is an exciting development and one that should help us protect our mutual interests in the future. So congratulations and sincere thanks all round!
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Andre Jute
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Postby Alitogata » Sat Oct 31, 2015 11:31 am

I don't like and I don't use cadmiums. They are too opaque for my taste.
But on the other hand, this ban thing has gone too far. The substances or activities that are really harmful are never banned. Have you ever read something about banning car emissions f,e? It is more harmful than everything because all people breath them... but no one ever considered to ban them and on top of that any alternative technology was suppressed for whole decades ( like electric cars ). What makes me laugh is the double standards on all these supposed ecological sensitivities.. I call it "ecology of the a$$" due to these many $$$$$ in the end of the word.
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