Friday, November 9, 2012

Thinking about DIY Projects' Safety Before You DIY

This morning at work, while researching lamp shade fabric flammability safety (aren't you jealous) I stumbled upon this great blog post from Light and Paper, entitled "fire-proof lamp shades? no such thing, be smart.".
You should really check it out Brenda Irwin, the author, really raises some key points when considering a DIY project.

While neat to look at, plastic cups probably are not the smartest thing to add electricity and heat to, unless you want a fire in your home.

 I have been thinking about all the DIY projects I have seen lately on Pinterest and some are jsut downright dangerous (many including the onese Brenda lists but there are some others too). Things to keep in mind beyond the fire hazards in Light and Paper's post: Just because someone else has done something it doesn't mean its:
  1. safe to do by yourself
  2. a good idea
  3. not going to burn your house down
  4. expose you to harmful chemicals that could make you sick or increase your risk for cancer
Some other things you might want to consider:
  1. If it is not rated for food-- it is NOT food safe (for example dip served in a candle holder is asking for exposure to nasty chemicals that you would not want to inject).
  2. Manufactures of products look at the safety of the products with indented use in mind and slight misuse in mind.  They are really not able to think of every way you or someone in the world might want to re-purpose their item.  So, if you are re-purposing any item, think about what you are trying to do with it and imagine the worst case scenario...are you ok with the worst case scenario (exposure to chemicals, exposure to other bodily harm, increased risk of fire)?  If not, you might want to reconsider what you are thinking about doing.
  3. Some of the glues used in many DIY projects are not appropriate for the end uses, do your own research before resting on someone else's research..
  4. Re-purposing or up-cycling old items (even those that are less than 10 years old) might not meet the current safety standards-- consider this especially when making things for everyday use in your home, for children.  The laws for lead limits in paints and other substrates have been constantly changing since 2008 and the amount of product recalls has consistently been held higher since 2008 than in the entire history of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
I am sure I have missed some other fine points to think of when DIY'ing, but the bottom line is you cannot assume everyone is doing things correctly and safely, and it is up to you to take control of what you allow into your home, especially if you are doing it yourself.   I will step off  my soapbox now...
Dip served in candle holders-- not really a smart decision unless you like to potentially expose yourself to some nasty chemicals.  If it is NOT rated for food contact it is NOT food safe.

1 comment:

  1. This is wonderful, thanks for the link and thanks for spreading the word about fire safety! I love Pinterest but oh my.. lighting is one of those things that can go wrong quickly. DIY enthusiasts should know that it's easy to find the RIGHT way to do things, but unfortunately it's even easier to find tutorials by people who aren't interested in the right way - they are just in a hurry to post something cute. Thank you for bringing attention to this!