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First of all, the disclaimer! This information is general in nature and is not intended to be a comprehensive presentation of all the hazards of glass etching or of all the safety precautions. You must always read and follow the safety instructions provided by the manufacturers of the equipment and supplies you purchase. Obtain, read and understand the Material Safety Data Sheets provided by the manufacturers of the materials you purchase to use in etching.

Although glass etching is one of the safer crafts you can do, it does involve machinery and high pressure air, so there are certainly things you have to be careful of.

When blasting, always protect your eyes and your skin from the abrasive particles from the blaster. This is generally done by blasting in a self-contained blasting cabinet with gloves. The gloves protect your hands and arms and the window in the cabinet protects your face and eyes while allowing you to see into the cabinet to control the etching of the glass. If you are blasting in a blast room or outside, you should always wear gloves and a blasting hood.

Equally important, you should always protect your lungs from exposure to blasting dust. If you are blasting in a blasting cabinet, the cabinet's dust collector will take care of the dust generated while blasting, but you must follow the manufacturer's recommended procedures for proper maintenance of the dust collector for it to be effective. Otherwise, wear a good quality, dual cartridge respirator (with dust cartridges) anytime you are exposed to the dust - like when you refill the blaster, sweep the floor, empty the dust collector, and when opening and closing the door of the blast cabinet to insert or take out the glass you are etching, etc.

Anytime you blast in a blast room you will be exposed to concentrated levels of dust, and a cartridge type respirator is inadequate to protect you in that situation. You should use a separate air supplied hood and air pump certified for breathing air when you are in a blast room.

If the noise from the dust collector is loud, or when you blast in a blast room at higher pressures, you would also be wise to wear ear plugs or other hearing protectors.

Abraisve glass etching is not nearly as dangerous as many types of wood working, welding, jewelry making, or even pottery. However, it is important to educate yourself about what dangers there are and to protect yourself. Always read and follow manufacturer's safety procedures and you should be very safe.