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Topic: Is this plaster of paris safe for my kid???  (Read 20946 times)
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« on: May 25, 2008 10:59:21 AM »

I picked this brand new box of plaster of paris up at the thrift store the other day. I just read the back of it and although it says that hand prints can be made with it it
also says that:

"WARNING: When mixed with water plaster hardens and becomes hot. Do not submerge any body parts into the plaster as severe burns may result. When plaster is being mixed, dust may cause irritation to eyes, nose, throat or upper respiratory system. If eye contact occurs, flush particles from eye with water. Do not take internally. Call a physician immediate if ingested. Children should not use this product except under adult supervision. Warning: This product contains crystalline silica, known to the state of California to cause cancer."

I remember using plaster of paris as a kid to make handprint molds but this has kind of got me shook up about using it. Would they suggest that you could use it to for hand prints if it was going to burn? Maybe they mean submerging for a long period of time? THOUGHTS? Thanks!

I also found this website talking about it. I do not think that the guy used it but he too found it ironic that they would say you could use it for handprints although it may burn etc.  (Scroll down to see it)

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« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2008 11:19:08 AM »

Remember that companies have to print even the stupidest warnings to protect from law suits.  I have used this many times with the kids without any problems.  In school we used it and had to sit with our hands in it until it dried with no problem.  But then again with the way parents are about lawsuits these days even cribs come with a warning sticker that says do not leave child unattended.

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« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2008 11:37:14 AM »

I wouldn't worry too much about the heat.  It just gets warm.  And if your kids have their hands on top of it, they can always remove them if it becomes uncomfortable. 

« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2008 11:41:12 AM »

Thanks for replying. I figured it was just precautionary but I just wanted to make sure. Off to make handprints for grandma!  Grin

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« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2008 01:41:26 PM »

If you do have any problems at all with this in their eyes or causing any problems at all don't forget you can call the toll free number for Poison Control  - 1-800-222-1222 is the national number and should send you to your nearest Poison Control Center for help.
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« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2008 03:22:29 PM »

I think the key word is 'submerge' - so long as your kids are pressing their hands in and immediately washing it should be no problem. 

I learned from my neighbor that concrete is dangerous that way too (long before this week's Grey's Anatomy episode Smiley ) but that didn't stop celebs from casting just about every body part at Graumann's Chinese.

The key is use it then clean hands and stuff immediately.  That is the adult supervision part because left to their own resources heaven knows what kids would do with it Smiley
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2008 07:52:20 AM »

Breathing the fine powdered plaster before hand is more of a hazard that the heat as it hardens. It doesn't get hot right away either.

If you use cold water to mix up the plaster, it'll remain cool long enough to get a good set on the hand prints. it'll warm slowly & just when it reaches "hot" it'll start cooling again as the chemical process is complete. I've had parts of my body cast for art projects, it's not so bad for an adult. Children are more sensitive to heat & cold in this situation though & won't be patient enough to tolerate full body casting anyway.

Back to the powder, it is very fine. I've seen a big bag dumped into a bin elicit an asthmatic reaction in an adult. It was also a small closed room & she had Asthma to begin with. Outside & don't dump it is a good plan, pour slowly.
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« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2008 05:00:54 PM »

I second the concern with breathing in the plaster, it really is bad for your lungs, at least that's my art teacher talking.  If you're really concerned, and handprints are the goal, then you could do reverse handprints in play dough. You can search for the directions on here but it's fairly simple, make a ring out of cardboard, put play dough inside (flattened), press hand, and then pour in plaster. It comes out really cool and you can see all the grooves and lines in the print. 
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