Probably the best place to start is what is Cadmium?
Cadmium is a soft, silver-white metal found in the earth’s crust and throughout our environment. A lot of rocks and soil including coal and mineral fertilizers, contain some cadmium. It was only when it was discovered as a by-product of the zinc refining process that it became used as a pigment.
Cadmium yellow was the first pigment produced in around 1820 and was soon joined by an extended range of different shades of yellows and oranges created in the laboratory. The new cadmium colours, particularly the darker varieties, were more lightfast than existing choices and became a welcome addition to the artist’s palette. Cadmium pigments are much loved artists mainly due to their ability to deliver vibrant, lightfast results but there still are some concerns over the safety of this metal. Cadmium pigments are restricted for certain applications, but this restriction does not apply to paint.
Still loved by many artists for its colour brightness and excellent opacity, cadmium remains a part of the Winsor & Newton artists’ palette. It is now, however, joined by a Cadmium-free alternative for those who want it.
Throughout our history Winsor and Newton have strived to bring artists alternatives without compromising on quality or performance. Safety has always been paramount and they tasked their chemists with creating something totally new that would answer the needs of artists who love cadmium colours, but had concerns about its impact. They managed to replicate cadmium’s signatures. It is opaque and permanent with an A permanence rating. They also have a lightfastness rating of “I” for excellent lightfastness just like the original cadmium colours. Plus, to give an authentic experience, the weight of the cadmium-free paint in the tube has been carefully matched.
• Bright and vibrant colours: finely milled, evenly dispersed
• Maximum transparency, even with opaque pigments - washes offer unparalleled colour graduation
• Lightfastness ensures art will last for generations
*Not to be confused with hue colours of course. These are a blend of other pigments to made up an imitation of an original pure pigment. These Cadmium free colours genuinely matched cadmiums and behave in the same manner.
This range of cadmium-free colours have been independently tested and certified as safe to use in the studio and within educational settings. This evaluation was carried out by the Art and Creative Materials Institute (ACMI), the international association of art, craft and creative material manufacturers which seeks to promote safety through its certification program. These colours hold the Approved Product (AP) seal (Indicates that these products have been evaluated by a qualified toxicologist and are in accordance with federal and state laws) and are completely safe to use. They are 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.
Explore the full Winsor and Newton Artists oil colour range here.