HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Science » Science (Group) » Sculptor Unknowingly Pois...

Tue Dec 4, 2018, 03:00 AM

Sculptor Unknowingly Poisons Herself with Her Own Art


By Sara G. Miller, Health Editor | December 3, 2018 05:34pm ET

When a sculptor in Toronto started feeling ill in 2013, she had no idea that her art was the reason why. The sculptor, Gillian Genser, had been using blue mussel shells in her sculptures for the past 15 years, and, as a result, unknowingly poisoning herself.

The culprit? Heavy metals, including arsenic and lead, found in the mussel shells. In a moving personal essay published Nov. 28 in Toronto Life, Genser described the onset of her symptoms which began with agitation, headaches and vomiting, and later progressed to symptoms such as hearing loss in one ear and short-term memory problems. It took two-year- for doctors to nail down the diagnosis of heavy metal poisoning.

Indeed, Genser wrote, it wasn't until she visited the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and spoke with a curator of invertebrates that she put the pieces together. The curator told Genser that toxins can build up in the shells of invertebrates, leading her to research blue mussels. As Live Science has previously reported, chemicals accumulate in mussels as they filter feed, making them good barometers for water pollutants.

Genser wrote that, in her case, the mussels she had been working with likely came from water contaminated with industrial waste. After 15 years of working with the mussel shells, she had built up high levels of arsenic and lead in her blood. She will "never fully recover" and continues to live with many symptoms, she wrote. However, she went on to complete her mussel-sculpture, a depiction of the biblical Adam, in 2015. She calls him her "beautiful death."

More:
https://www.livescience.com/64224-sculptor-unknowingly-poisons-herself-with-her-own-art.html


If her medium, mussel shells, made her ill, why would she expect it's O.K. to allow the public to expose itself to the same toxins at the exhibit? Shouldn't she scrap the crap, instead? Bury it? Work with a different material?

5 replies, 828 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2018, 03:10 AM

1. The toxins built up in her body over years because she was handling the mussel shells.

I doubt simply viewing and appreciating the art would cause a person to get sick.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2018, 03:11 AM

2. Read a WaPo article about her, and she was exposed to the ground up dust...

and particles while working with the shells. 15 years of breathing and handling that stuff poisoned her.

There may be good reason for her to change her art, but the owners of her works have less to fear from hanging it on a wall than from eating the mussels.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to TreasonousBastard (Reply #2)

Tue Dec 4, 2018, 08:27 AM

5. years ago, I was working with a guy who did mother of pearl inlay for wood projects....

he was aliment about wearing respirators.

Looks beautiful when completed but is very bad news when working with it in powdered form.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2018, 04:27 AM

3. I love cooked muscles. They are, of course, cooked in their shells.

Did I miss something in the article that addressed any dangers of eating muscles? Would really like to know.

On to Google now to do a little research.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2018, 07:08 AM

4. stupid drs. when i had an issue. 1st thing. yes. i worked w/ solder. stained glass work.

immediately tested for lead. not a prob cause we had a good system at work + 50/50 solder. + i had been soldering for several years. no lead issues.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread