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Potential Toxicity of Handling Raw Malachite Specimens.
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Joseph D'Oliveira




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PostPosted: Aug 13, 2015 09:04    Post subject: Potential Toxicity of Handling Raw Malachite Specimens.  

Recently we have seen a significant number of acicular malachite specimens available and a certain amount of confusion as to the relative hazards of handling this material. It is well known in the lapidary world that malachite dust is a health hazard and dust protection should be used when working the material.

Extending this to mineral specimens appears to be a stretch and I would think that the potential for toxicity of raw malachite as a mineral display specimen would be quite low. Any opinions on the subject or other reference material that I may be able to review would be appreciated.

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Les Presmyk




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PostPosted: Aug 13, 2015 09:22    Post subject: Re: Potential Toxicity of Handling Raw Malachite Specimens.  

Asbestos becomes a serious health issue if it is crushed into very fine particles and is breathed in over periods of time. However, a specimen of chrysotile asbestos being handled or sitting in a display cabinet is does not render the same health issues. In fact it is relatively benign unless you drop it on your foot or someone throws it at you. I would make the same observation about malachite specimens. Unless you grind them up, they do not pose any threat to one's health.

Another example would be water. It is absolutely necessary for everyone to have access to water to drink, to cook in and everything else water gets used for. However, if you try to breathe it, now it becomes life threatening. I have known about the issues with lapidary dust and its affects for years. A very good friend of mine is actually allergic to malachite dust but has no reaction when cutting azurite. But, to think handling a malachite specimen creates the health issues as malachite dust is just not rational.

However, if anyone out there fears for their lives because they have fine Arizona malachite specimens in their collections, please contact me and I will be happy to take them off their hands.
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Joseph D'Oliveira




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PostPosted: Aug 13, 2015 11:58    Post subject: Re: Potential Toxicity of Handling Raw Malachite Specimens.  

I am in total agreement with you after spending a career in underground copper/nickel/uranium mines. Unfortunately there is quite a bit of dis-information out there. Minerals such as galena, stibnite, many of the other sulphides and arsenides are being listed as too toxic to handle.

Of all the articles I have read, many generated within the metaphysical community, no one has provided empirical evidence that there is a health risk to handling any of these mineral specimens.

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alfredo
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PostPosted: Aug 13, 2015 12:07    Post subject: Re: Potential Toxicity of Handling Raw Malachite Specimens.  

Malachite can only hurt you if it is ingested. Consequently the best advice is simply to wash hands after handling dusty specimens - the same advice you'd give someone with garden soil on their hands, or the dust from the vacuum cleaner bag, or after disposing of the cat's litter box.

If the specimens aren't dusty (like a piece of malachite jewelry, for example) I wouldn't even bother with the hand washing. But actually doing the lapidary work, as you mentioned, is more dangerous and requires dust mitigation. (But then you could say that for many other kinds of dust too, including organic ones. Dusts of all kinds are best kept OUTside the human body!)
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Ed Huskinson




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PostPosted: Aug 13, 2015 14:38    Post subject: Re: Potential Toxicity of Handling Raw Malachite Specimens.  

I agree with Les. If one is fearful that handling malachite is hazardous, you may as well don rubber gloves when counting the pennies in your pocket, the high zinc percentage notwithstanding......

Enjoy the Gilbert show, everybody!

I'm 50/50 for being able to participate.

Peace on earth.
Ed in Kingman

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Les Presmyk




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PostPosted: Aug 13, 2015 14:59    Post subject: Re: Potential Toxicity of Handling Raw Malachite Specimens.  

After collecting for 53 years, the most danger I feel exposed to with my minerals is if I manage to drop one on my foot or receive a cut from an extra sharp quartz crystal. However, there are some minerals that do require special handling. What people need to understand and appreciate is the chemistry of each mineral species. Yes, galena contains lead but that does not make it dangerous because it is virtually insoluble under normal circumstances. However, working (mining) around a lot of cerussite dust could have significant effects because the lead here is much more soluble. Other examples include orpiment and realgar because they are so soft and dust prone.

It just comes down to informing oneself about what you have in your collection. I would be more worried about some of the uranium and thorium mineral species than most of the non-radioactive minerals.

After all, just because information is available on the internet does not make it true or factual. I am reminded of the commercial with the young lady who continues to make the statement "After all, it is on the internet so it has to be true" and then meets up with her "French model boyfriend" who is no closer to being a French model than me.
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Tracy




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PostPosted: Sep 01, 2015 10:27    Post subject: Re: Potential Toxicity of Handling Raw Malachite Specimens.  

I'm not climbing back on my soapbox. :)

Joseph, happy to provide you with lots of reading material on risk assessment and occupational health/safety, since these are at the heart of threads like this.

Hello to all...
Tracy

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Les Presmyk




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PostPosted: Sep 01, 2015 11:08    Post subject: Re: Potential Toxicity of Handling Raw Malachite Specimens.  

And Tracy is truly an expert in this field.
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PostPosted: Sep 01, 2015 11:25    Post subject: Re: Potential Toxicity of Handling Raw Malachite Specimens.  

Les Presmyk wrote:
And Tracy is truly an expert in this field.


Thanks Les for the endorsement...I have to check out the commercial to which you refer. It sounds quite appropriate!

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PostPosted: Sep 01, 2015 11:36    Post subject: Re: Potential Toxicity of Handling Raw Malachite Specimens.  

I believe it is for one of the insurance companies but I do not remember which one. I will ask Paula if she remembers the company. I want to say it was Farmers or Allstate but that is just a guess.
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GneissWare




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PostPosted: Sep 01, 2015 12:09    Post subject: Re: Potential Toxicity of Handling Raw Malachite Specimens.  

Les Presmyk wrote:
I am reminded of the commercial with the young lady who continues to make the statement "After all, it is on the internet so it has to be true" and then meets up with her "French model boyfriend" who is no closer to being a French model than me.


I always thought you were French, Les. State Farm commercial, by the way.

As an environmental, health and safety expert, skilled in hazardous waste and materials, I will gladly accept any and all minerals that folks would like to divest themselves of -- the more highly crystallized and aesthetic, probably the more dangerous for you to keep -- they should really be sent to an expert at handling them!
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Les Presmyk




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PostPosted: Sep 01, 2015 12:22    Post subject: Re: Potential Toxicity of Handling Raw Malachite Specimens.  

Polish, German, English, Pennsylvania Dutch and Scottish but no French. But, I appreciate the vote of confidence.
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Joseph D'Oliveira




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PostPosted: Sep 01, 2015 12:25    Post subject: Re: Potential Toxicity of Handling Raw Malachite Specimens.  

I'm sure you'd like that gneiss ware. I started this thread because I have had a number of people come by my booth and I could over hear them telling their spouse and kids, "don't touch that, it's poisonous", these comments particularly applied to malachite and stibnite. Most of them when asked, replied that they had come across an article on the internet and that's where they got their information.

I really was interested to hear if other people were hearing the same comments and certainly do not subscribe to the sentiment. During my 38 years underground, I was always more worried about them falling on me than toxicity exposure.

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alfredo
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PostPosted: Sep 01, 2015 12:50    Post subject: Re: Potential Toxicity of Handling Raw Malachite Specimens.  

A fairly big proportion of our population, unfortunately, is fearful of anything that smells of "science". Like rocks. They would of course be better off being fearful of the trans-fats in their favorite foods, but people don't fear things they've been familiar with since childhood.
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Tracy




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PostPosted: Sep 02, 2015 15:21    Post subject: Re: Potential Toxicity of Handling Raw Malachite Specimens.  

GneissWare wrote:
As an environmental, health and safety expert, skilled in hazardous waste and materials, I will gladly accept any and all minerals that folks would like to divest themselves of -- the more highly crystallized and aesthetic, probably the more dangerous for you to keep -- they should really be sent to an expert at handling them!


What GneissWare, said, but from me. Agree that esthetics might correlate to hazard potential! :)

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PostPosted: Aug 14, 2017 13:04    Post subject: Re: Potential Toxicity of Handling Raw Malachite Specimens.  

Good one Les. The topic of the reality of malachite dust is going around in FB lapidary circles right now, so talk to dispel the fear mongers is worthwhile.

I Googled "toxicity of malachite dust" and FMF came up about the 3rd reference, a good sign for the Forum's credibility.
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PostPosted: Aug 14, 2017 14:48    Post subject: Re: Potential Toxicity of Handling Raw Malachite Specimens.  

Hi Guys, just to add a more official touch to the conversation, based on MSDS data sheet dated June 2015; available here:
jostchemical.com/documentation/SDS/Basic%20Copper%20Carbonate%20(12069-69-1).pdf
(link normalized by FMF)

...the following applies:

"NFPA health hazard : 2 - Intense or continued exposure could cause temporary incapacitation or possible residual injury unless prompt medical attention is given.

NFPA fire hazard : 0 - Materials will not burn.

NFPA reactivity : 0 - Normally stable, even under fire exposure conditions, and are not reactive with water.

HMIS III Rating

Health : 2 Moderate Hazard - Temporary or minor injury may occur

Flammability : 0 Minimal Hazard - Materials that will not burn

Physical : 0 Minimal Hazard - Materials that are normally stable, even under fire conditions, and will NOT react with water, polymerize, decompose, condense, or self-react. Non-Explosive.

Personal Protection : E - Safety glasses, Gloves, Dust respirator

One can also turn to their local "Poison Control Center" for up-to-date info. Hope this helps!
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PostPosted: Aug 14, 2017 15:30    Post subject: Re: Potential Toxicity of Handling Raw Malachite Specimens.  

If this counts for anything, I am a chemist (yes, one of those odd items you rarely find..)
And second, I worked in the gemology industry, or lapidary industry.
Yes, cutting, grinding, and polishing malachite could be harmful (mainly said to me that arranged drinking so and so liters of milk daily). But in some pills it said to be useful for health, there is enough copper to make ingestion of malachite dust a joke....

So, copper is bad, very bad fungus (due to interaction with fungic acid (not a joke....).
Not so bad for superior specimens, And with a little care, no one should worry (except if they eat kg of malachite...)

With best wishes

Lluís
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PostPosted: Aug 14, 2017 16:02    Post subject: Re: Potential Toxicity of Handling Raw Malachite Specimens.  

Yes, I agree with you Luis; I too will happily purchase nice malachites anyday and leave them around my house and office! However, this site should be careful putting out health-related info - there is a very small percentage of people who are actually allergic to copper dust and so the government recommends mask and gloves.
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PostPosted: Aug 14, 2017 16:05    Post subject: Re: Potential Toxicity of Handling Raw Malachite Specimens.  

I'm allergic to cats, but the government hasn't warned me to put the cat out. Lazy bureaucrats....
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