Skip to main content

To: All UK Members of the European Parliament

Stop the EU ban of cadmium in artist's paints.

Stop the EU ban of cadmium in artist's paints.

Dear UK MEP, please help to STOP the ban of cadmium based artist's oil paints or amend the legislation to instead mandate correct disposal at existing recycling centres. Please lobby the European Chemical Agency to prevent the dire consequences of this legislation on artists, galleries, and all those with an interest in or appreciation of contemporary painting.

Why is this important?

Cadmium pesticides are sprayed on food crops throughout Europe, and recently the VAT was lifted on cadmium based agricultural chemicals. To distract from this artists are being used as a scapegoat.

Unlike farmers, artists have neither the lobbying power, influence or money to make sure their livelihood is protected. If elected representatives do not speak up, who will? Adequate restoration of many 20th century paintings will become impossible if this ban is enforced. Contemporary painters will have to use inadequate synthetic substitutes which are less permanent. Many artists will have to spend their later years restoring their own artworks as a consequence. There will be other severe economic consequences for artists and the value of contemporary and 20th century artworks. Banning cadmium paints will render several styles of painting impossible as there are no opaque red, yellow or orange colours to substitute for cadmium pigments.

It is estimated that a mere 5% of cadmium paint is disposed of, and cadmium oil paints are (as oil does not break down in water) almost insoluble. Therefore the risks are minimal compared with its use in liquid pesticides. If this ban comes into effect an exemption for oil based paints would be sensible. Instead, it should be mandatory for local recycling services to allow and enforce the disposal of tubes and remnants of cadmium based paints in bags provided for batteries (most of which contain cadmium).

I have saved to buy cadmium paints which are 3 times as expensive as the synthetic alternatives, and most other painters do so despite having low incomes. Many artists scrape the dry remains of these paints from their palette and rub them on the canvas to prevent waste and save money. If artists did not need to use cadmium based paints, why would they incur the extra cost and follow otherwise unnecessary safety precautions just to use these unique pigments? The answer is clear. They increase the quality of most paintings. Each painting I have sold has relied on the opacity of cadmium red or yellow oil paint, and this applies to many other artists. All of the safety issues can be easily overcome if this ban is prevented or amended. It is time for legislators, artists, art lovers and those with respect for the cultural and economic value of art to take action and PREVENT THIS BAN!


Reasons for signing

  • This is very tacky politics, and won't clean up the environment at all.
  • Our Art world needs the best paints for posterity
  • Artists are not responsible for much cadmium. They use it wisely and do not want it to get into the sewage system as it is so expensive. Use discretion, EU!

Updates

2015-03-10 02:09:27 +0000

500 signatures reached

2014-12-16 13:46:02 +0000

100 signatures reached

2014-09-26 11:13:41 +0100

50 signatures reached

2014-09-20 21:57:56 +0100

25 signatures reached

2014-07-12 23:15:44 +0100

10 signatures reached