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New Great Lakes Leadership & Toxins in Art Supplies

New Great Lakes Leadership & Toxins in Art Supplies

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Larry Stephens became a professional artist when he was laid off from his auto job two years ago. He's been doing well, even selling paintings to ABC for the TV show Detroit 187. (Photo by Suzy Vuljevic)

Host: Rebecca Williams
Show date: 01/06/2011

Governor Rick Snyder picked outgoing Republican state Senator Patty Birkholtz to lead the Office of the Great Lakes. As you might guess, the director of this office oversees all things Great Lakes. Birkholtz will advise the governor and make policy recommendations on everything from Asian carp to water use.

She says her top priority will be to keep new invasive species out of the Lakes.

Birkholtz says protecting the Great Lakes will lead to a stronger economy.

“When we have a healthy Great Lakes system we have more jobs here in this state as well as regionally, and if we don’t have a healthy Great Lakes system it’s a detriment to not only the jobs situation but also businesses locating here.”

Birkholtz says she’ll go to Washington next month to urge Congress to allocate more money for Great Lakes cleanup projects.


This is the Environment Report.

People talk about suffering for their art… but for visual artists, there may be more truth to that statement than they realize. As Tanya Ott reports, many art supplies contain lead and other potentially dangerous compounds:

(sound of rattling a spray can… then spraying)

Larry Stephens shakes a can of spray paint, then starts applying it to a canvas. First the dark, grassy green. Then a lighter shade.

(newspaper crumbling)

Stephens started painted professionally – under the name Sinister - when he was laid off from an automotive job two years ago. And he’s doing pretty well. He’s even sold some paintings to ABC television for its Detroit 187 series.

Most of the time Stephens paints outside. But in winter, he can’t. So he paints indoors, wearing a respirator or a dust mask. It’s not enough.

“You know within a couple of hours I’ll start getting dizzy. You’ll end up coughing up paint the next morning. You’ll go to blow your nose and it’ll be green and red and yellow and whatever colors you’re using that day.”

Tips from the state of California for safer use of art supplies

Art Safety Guide from Princeton University

Art & Creative Materials Institute


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