Sculptor diagnosed with heavy-metal poisoning after years of grinding mussel shells


Required listening on this topic:

Soong, C. S. (2013). Alienated from nature? Against the Grain, March, 13. Duration: 52:52.

Vogel points out that there are effectively two uses of the word “nature”: (1) natural (as opposed to supernatural), and (2) not human. Both of these meanings become incoherent when applied to human experiences, in particular the latter. A worthy listen.


And let us not forget that glass artists can have nasty toxics also.


you mean compared to native mussels they’ll do a better job filtering water and sequestering carbon and toxins? they’ll be more successful and effective? Unless I’m missing some human-centric benefit to non-zebra mussels, I do not see a problem.


There’s been a project around New York Harbor and surrounding waters for a while now, seeding oysters of a species that was known to flourish there in historic times, so that they will sequester pollutants. The oysters will be unfit for consumption, but their shells, when crushed, will be fine aggregate for paving material, and no worse for toxicity than the local limestone, which is made up of sea creatures that sequestered heavy transition elements in the Devonian period. The creatures themselves will be no worse to handle than other organic waste, since the transition metals will pretty much all be in the shells. (They’ll be unfit for consumption because of bacterial and algal contamination.) The shells will sequester some carbon, as well, but the quantities are minuscule.


That seems about right. Regarding the article though: 12 hours a day grinding even non-toxic oyster dust without a proper vacuum system seems like a real lack of awareness. I have to think that even ignoring this woman’s symptoms from the pollutants, the inside of her nose was loaded with concrete (no joke, enough grinding dust will build a nice wall in your nose) That alone would send most people to find a way to eliminate the dust.


They told us in art school: NEVER EAT YOUR WORK.


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