How we keep
creativity safe

The ACMI-certified product seals  —  Approved Product (AP) and Cautionary Labeling (CL) — indicate products that have been evaluated by a qualified toxicologist for both acute and chronic hazards and are labeled in accordance with federal and state art material labeling laws. Each product in the program undergoes extensive toxicological testing before it is granted the right to bear the ACMI certification seal. To date, ACMI has certified over 60,000 art, craft and creative material formulations.

The Approved Product (AP) Seal

The AP Seal identifies art materials that are safe and certified in a toxicological evaluation by a medical expert to contain no materials in sufficient quantities to be toxic or injurious to humans, including children, or to cause acute or chronic health problems. Children in grade six and lower, and adults who may not be able to read and understand safety labeling should use only non-toxic materials. The AP Seal ensures products are non-toxic when used as intended for young children, the physically or mentally handicapped, and any persons who cannot read or understand the safety labeling on product packages.

The Cautionary Labeling (CL) Seal

The CL Seal identifies products that are certified to be properly labeled in a program of toxicological evaluation by a medical expert for any known health risks and with information on the safe and proper use of these materials. This seal appears on only a small percentage of adult art materials in ACMI’s certification program and on none of the children’s materials.  These products are also certified by ACMI to be labeled in accordance with the chronic hazard labeling standard, ASTM D 4236, and the U.S. Labeling of Hazardous Art Materials Act (LHAMA). Products with this seal are not hazardous if used correctly. It is important to read the product label in full before opening a product that has the CL Seal. These products should never be given to children in grade 6 or lower or anyone with a physical or mental handicap who is unable to read and understand safety labeling on packages.

Frequently Asked Questions: Art Material Usage

What should I do if I swallow a product by mistake?

First, read the label and follow any instructions that may appear there. If the product bears a warning, call the National Poison Control hotline at 800-222-1222. You will automatically be connected to your local poison control center. Be ready to provide the center with information concerning ingredient content and first aid directions that appear on the label. If the product has an ACMI AP non-toxic seal, there is no need for alarm or action.

If a product smells bad, is it toxic?

Although inhalation is a route of exposure to potentially hazardous materials, smell is not a good indicator of toxicity. Sometimes a material can have a strong smell (such as a marker) but be non-toxic. On the other hand, something that has no smell or smells sweet could be highly toxic. Always remember to read the label before using a product.

Is it safe to use art materials during pregnancy?

Products bearing the certification seals are evaluated for both acute or chronic hazards. Those found to be non-toxic bear the AP Seal and those needing cautionary labeling bear the CL Seal. ACMI’s toxicological evaluation takes into account all acute and chronic issues, including fetotoxicity. You should read the labels carefully to see if those that carry a warning label refer to pregnancy or fetotoxicity. If so, do not use them during pregnancy or when contemplating pregnancy, as directed on the label. If you purchase art materials without ACMI seals, look for a conformance statement that indicates they comply with ASTM D 4236 which means they comply with Federal regulations for art materials, regarding chronic toxicity. The ACMI program goes a little further, taking into consideration acute toxicity, allergy issues, whether the product can be used by a child, etc. Also, ACMI acts as additional assurance that the product has, in fact, been evaluated and that the conformance statement is valid as well as the warning labeling, if any. Consumers who are pregnant or contemplating pregnancy should discuss anticipated exposures during pregnancy with their health care provider.

Some products are really dusty. Is dust toxic?

It is important to read the label. Not all dust is toxic. In fact, many dusty or dry products, such as chalk, powdered tempera, and many pastels, are non-toxic, even if inhaled. Other dust-causing products, such as many dry clays, can be toxic, and proper precautions need to be taken. Dust is messy but not always toxic. It should also be noted that the dry powder from clays should not be breathed.