Since my last blog post I have been playing with enamel powders and Mica powders aka Pixie Dust. Enamels powders are made up of ground glass in a talc powder form. Read the enamels powder section under glass alchemy for more information. What is important to know about safety is these enamels are actually glass powder. Mica powder has been described in the tutorials section. Again Mica powder is in a talcum powder format. Originally I read a whole heap of warnings and thought them a little over the top. This last weekend I went away to the Purple Palace for a retreat and used both enamel and mica powder. The palace does not have ventilation but rather has two open windows a door and a fan assisting air flow.
I used three methods of application. I poured the powder into one of my moulds and pressed the bead into the powder, I also used a tea spoon and rolled the bead in the edges of the powder, finally I sprinkled powder using an old tea strainer.
At first there was no issue with the powders and using them, but then after about 10 minutes I started to notice a post nasal drip in the back of my throat and a slight grating feeling when swallowing. As the next hour progressed I noticed sinus like symptoms and a definite strong irritation in breathing through the nose. This worsened as the day progressed resulting in a blocked nose, sore throat and annoying post nasal. The effects lasted just short of two days and 8 days on my throat is still sore.
DO NOT underestimate how careful you need to be with these two powders. Use a face mask and ensure you have adequate ventilation. It is not OK to have air movement you must have extraction. You also need to respect that these powders are now resting on your working surface you will require the use of a face mask when cleaning the surface to ensure not getting the powders airborne and up your nose.