Before doing any mosaic projects, especially those employing broken pieces of tile and pottery, please read this. No need to panic, just be informed.
- It is very important to wear eye protection when cutting china or glass— whether breaking pieces with a hammer or a tile nipper. Small pieces can fly into the air and enter eyes! Don't take chances with this one.
- It is also important to know whether the china you are working with contains lead in the glaze. Most newer pieces have no lead, but many of the older pieces do. Before breaking, placing pieces that may have lead in them in a plastic bag cuts down on any lead dust that might be dispersed into the air.
- Do not work in the kitchen, or near any food preparation areas because of dust mentioned above.
- Put lots of disposable floor protection under work in progress to make the cleanup more efficient.
- Periodically wipe whole work area surfaces with wet paper towels that will disposed of immediately to get rid of any possible lead dust.
- It is also good to cut any china or pottery in a plastic bag because the process of cutting usually releases some dust from the clay used to make the piece. There are questions as to whether the clay dust can cause lung issues.
Anyone doing this work occasionally would probably not be risking their health, but if someone plans to do extensive mosaic work, these issues should be taken seriously!
Disclaimer: There may be other risks involved as well, such as getting cut, or who knows what, so don't take this advisory as the end all. Please use good judgement and especially if there are children around!