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Toxicity in pre-fired form (liquid or dry)
Commercial glaze manufacturers label their glazes using ASTM D-4236. All their glazes are either AP Non-toxic, which means non-toxic in liquid or dry form, or CL Cautions Required, which means it has proper labeling of ingredients for health and safety. In this sense, non-toxic only refers to lead and cadmium.
All glazes sold in K-12 schools must be AP Non-toxic. This is to reduce the risk of harm if a child drinks the glaze. You don't want a lead based glaze in the classroom for example. You will see the AP Non-toxic label on the glaze bottle; a circle with an AP inside.
Remember, all glazes in DRY form are unsafe for breathing, and you should use a good mask whenever dealing with dry glazes. There are chemicals such as manganese which are known to be a health hazard when breathed in dry form, but are not believed to be a problem after being fired. And even clay particles with no toxicity get trapped inside lungs and thus are bad for potters to breathe.
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|Sheri Ann Richerson|