Sourcing Colorants and Clay Additives from Clay/Pottery Supply House

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tricia819

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I used to work with pottery a lot so, imagine my surprise when I started soaping and realized that many of the colorants are the same. I found Titanium Dioxide and Kaolin Clay at my local clay supply house. I started looking at their website and comparing it to BB and noticed that many of the ingredients are cross-overs including red, black and yellow oxides as well as green crome oxide, red copper oxide and even a mica powder. I am sure that I could find several of the clay additives there too. My question is, has anyone tried using a clay supply house as a source for soaping colorants/additives? If so, did they work the same? Are there things I need to keep in mind before using them? I saw a BB post about making sure colorants are lab created and not mined to keep the FDA happy. Is there anything else I need to avoid? If not, it seems like this could save people a TON of money. I bought a pound of TD and a pound of Kaolin Clay and a needle tool (for scoring soap) for a grand total of $10 and, since I could drive there and pick it up, NO SHIPPING!!​
 

tricia819

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How do I find that out? They won't know, they don't intend to sell for this use. Where would I find a source that could answer that question?
 

Relle

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Rather to be safe, than sorry, I wouldn't use pottery supplies for use on the body. I can't help you, finding out your answer.
 

gigisiguenza

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How do I find that out? They won't know, they don't intend to sell for this use. Where would I find a source that could answer that question?
Ask the seller for info on their supplier maybe? People still have to handle these components in pottery, so they must have some kind of msds or technical data on the components. They may never have thought to look at them, but I'm sure there is a data sheet for every one of those components. HTH
 

tricia819

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That is what I was thinking gigisiguenza. I have had my hands in these clays and colorants for hours at a time as a potter. I can't imagine that a few flecks suspended in a bar of soap that is contacting skin for a couple of minutes tops could be that dangerous. Maybe I will ask the FDA. Since I would be using for soap and not lipstick or eye shadow and soap isn't really a "cosmetic", maybe it would be ok. Now to figure out how to contact the FDA...
 

cmzaha

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That is what I was thinking gigisiguenza. I have had my hands in these clays and colorants for hours at a time as a potter. I can't imagine that a few flecks suspended in a bar of soap that is contacting skin for a couple of minutes tops could be that dangerous. Maybe I will ask the FDA. Since I would be using for soap and not lipstick or eye shadow and soap isn't really a "cosmetic", maybe it would be ok. Now to figure out how to contact the FDA...
Either call or email FDA. It does take a week or so, in my experience, to get an email answer, but they do answer. I never found them to be to hard to get hold of even on the phone
 

songwind

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In addition to the safety concerns I'd worry about texture. Are pigments for glazing as small and polished as those intended for cosmetics? Or might they feel unpleasant on the skin? That kind of thing. Things like TiO2 or iron oxide are probably chemically identical, but the physical characteristics might still be different.
 

tricia819

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I did buy the TD and the Kaolin Clay. I haven't had a chance to use them yet but, they are both incredibly fine... like talcum powder. I mixed the TD with water and it looks like I think it should look. If there is anyone on here in the KC area, I am happy to let you look at what I got and you can tell me if you think there is a texture imbalance.

I emailed the FDA and will let you all know when I get a response. If I can save us all some money, I will be thrilled to contribute. On the other hand, if I can save us all some headaches, that has value too.
 

Spice

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That is what I was thinking gigisiguenza. I have had my hands in these clays and colorants for hours at a time as a potter. I can't imagine that a few flecks suspended in a bar of soap that is contacting skin for a couple of minutes tops could be that dangerous. Maybe I will ask the FDA. Since I would be using for soap and not lipstick or eye shadow and soap isn't really a "cosmetic", maybe it would be ok. Now to figure out how to contact the FDA...
Forgive me if I offend you ahead of time; but, what you do to make soap affects me too. Because when something goes wrong then all, "soap makers are off their rocker with all that natural stuff." Soap becomes internal and I would've thought you knew that. If it didn't then using essential oils would be a waste. We have a responsibility to the people that trust in us and spend their money, that the product they are using is safe, for the whole family. Soap can be, a very powerful thing.
 

penelopejane

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I have had my hands in these clays and colorants for hours at a time as a potter. I can't imagine that a few flecks suspended in a bar of soap that is contacting skin for a couple of minutes tops could be that dangerous. Maybe I will ask the FDA. Since I would be using for soap and not lipstick or eye shadow and soap isn't really a "cosmetic", maybe it would be ok. Now to figure out how to contact the FDA...
The skin is the largest organ of the body. Chemicals and natural substances can be transferred through it. That's why transdermal patches are used to administer many drugs.

In a shower the pores of your skin are opened by the warm water and the process of transfer is sped up and intensified. A lot of people think it is incredibly important to ensure the substances in the soap and lotions you use should be as safe as possible. "Safe" varies from person to person depending on their tolerance for chemicals and natural ingredients.

In Australia all ingredients in any cosmetic product that contacts the skin has to be skin safe and listed on the label. I am sure the FDA has the same rules in the US.

If you are making soap for yourself no one will care. But, if other people in your home will use them or if you are giving your soap to anyone you have a responsibility to produce safe soap. Please reconsider before you risk putting someone's health at risk just to save a few dollars.
 
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CTAnton

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We're all interested in keeping costs down for sure. I'm going to be patient and what to see what the FDA has to say. My gut reaction is that piece of mind comes to play here. Buying from a reputable supplier of soap supplies makes me more comfortable. I find it hard to believe that there could be such a disparity in pricing for no good reason. But I'll be patient, kinda...
 

commoncenz

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BakingNana

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It will be interesting to see what the FDA response is. OP is concerned or would have gone ahead and used them without question. I'm sure OP wants to be safe as do we all. Looking forward to hearing FDA response. I'm betting it's a no -- not safe for cosmetic use, but I've been shocked before.
 

gigisiguenza

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Soap Queen has already answered the OP's original question regarding clay. Under "Colorants" in the link provided below she states:



One would assume that the same holds for Titanium Dioxide and other colorants also.

http://www.soapqueen.com/bath-and-b...-beginners-guide-to-soapmaking-melt-and-pour/
That's why I commented regarding it's handled during the working of the clay. I wonder exactly what that extra step is that takes it from safe for potters to immerse their hands in for hours vs soap use.
 

Obsidian

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Just because potters have their hands in it all day, doesn't mean its safe. You would think it does but look at all the industries where works are exposed to hazardous material.
 

penelopejane

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That's why I commented regarding it's handled during the working of the clay. I wonder exactly what that extra step is that takes it from safe for potters to immerse their hands in for hours vs soap use.
It might be because people use soap many times a day everyday of their lives on delicate parts of their skin.

It seems like potters have a myriad of potential hazards involved with their job including silica dust, clay dust, possible asbestos contamination of clay, bad back from bending over their wheel.
https://sites.google.com/site/meene...s/safety-and-hazards-in-ceramics-princetonehs

One section says:
>>Certain colorant compounds of particular metals are known or probable human carcinogens, including: arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, chromium (VI), nickel, and uranium.<<

I don't think I will be taking up pottery anytime soon!
 

tricia819

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1) When I wrote this post last week, I had made a total of 5 2-pound batches so, please don't condescend to me and say "I would have thought you would have known...". I don't know, that is why I asked the question.

2) Comparing soap to a transdermal patch is silly. A transdermal patch is worn on the body for 12-24 hours at a time (longer when it is removed for showering then immediately replaced). To the best of my knowledge, nobody is taping soap to their body and wearing it around all day. Or, better yet, nobody is taping a bunch of clay colorants to their body and again, wearing it around all day. That said, as a potter, having your hands and arms in buckets of wet clay for hours at a time, IS a more valid comparison and I have not heard of thousands of potters getting sick or dying from touching these things.

3) That doesn't mean the FDA approves the use of these ingredients in soap which is why I was asking the question.

4) I beg you all to keep in mind that not everyone feels like you do about every topic. I decided to start soaping because kitchen chemistry is cool! I LOVE science! I did NOT decide to start soaping because I am certain that commercial soaps are going to kill me.

5) Also, not all of us are lucky enough to have a family. So, thanks for that reminder.

6) For those of you who are terrified of pottery because you think the chemicals are so much more dangerous than the chemicals you get from the soaping companies, think about this... I have done both soaping and pottery now and I am more afraid of the danger in working with lye than the danger of working with wet clay and glaze, by a factor of twenty. I have never felt the need to run to the shower to rinse off clay and glaze chemicals like I have with lye. Just something to think about.

I will still reply back when I get an answer from the FDA.
 

nsmar4211

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I think the only real way you'd get an answer to the pottery houses vs soap houses supply quality would be to send samples of each, without any indication of which is which, to an independent testing labratory and have the chemical makeup of each mapped...
 

tricia819

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That is a REALLY good idea, nsmar4211!! I can't afford it right now (my car hates me and I have to get it fixed) but, I will totally keep this in mind for the future! :)
 

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