|Jaune but not forgotten:|
Monet's poisonous irises
The EU is considering a ban on the kinds of vibrant red and yellow paints favoured by artists for over a hundred years.
The cadmium content in those paints is increasing the risk of fractures and breast cancer, say Swedish scientists who have proposed a Europe-wide prohibition.
Artists have known of the health risks of the cadmium paints for years, and take care not to lick their brush tips when using them. Some even wear gloves and carry special contaminant wipes to dispense with inadvertent splashes.
But now Swedish government scientists have said that the noxious chemical has been entering our food chain for decades via the waste-water system.
According to their findings, the paint that goes in the water pot which goes down the sink which ends in the sewers which furnishes the sludge that we spray on our fields which nurture our food could be responsible for 60 bone fractures a year in people over 50, and 16 incidences of post-menopause breast cancer.
That's about 1/1000 fractures and 4/1000 breast-cancer cases a year in the over 50s.
Paint companies, knowing the risks to the artists themselves, have spent decades trying to find alternatives. But many painters say there's no substitute for the reds and yellows cadmium offers.
BM wonders if there might not be an alternative to spraying our food with sewage instead.
|Carcinogen Red, from the Rembrant range|