What is cadmium?
Cadmium is a rare soft metal similar to zinc that is found in the earth’s crust. It was also found to be a by-product of the zinc refining process and was only then used a pigment.
Due to its yellow colour, cadmium yellow was the first paint to be created from it in the 1820s. Other ranges of yellows and oranges then began to be produced in the laboratory. These new cadmium colours were more lightfast and more vibrant than other yellow paints, so they became a welcomed addition to artists. In 1919 the cadmium paint range was joined by a new red pigment, cadmium red, which is similar in colour to vermilion.
Why was there a need for cadmium free versions?
Cadmium itself is a heavy metal that has been found could be harmful to health but some evidence suggests that cadmium pigments are not. There is still a lot unknown, so some leading paint brands such as Winsor & Newton developed cadmium free paint options to give their artists a choice.
What is the benefit of cadmium free paints?
Winsor & Newton strived to bring artists alternatives without compromising on quality or performance. They were able to replicate cadmium’s signature and create a new paint formula that still maintained the same opaqueness and permanence as original cadmium colours. They were also able to still have a lightfastness rating of “I” for excellent lightfastness.
This range of new cadmium free colours by Winsor & newton were independently tested and certified to ensure they were safe to use. So now artists can decide for themselves whether they prefer to go with cadmium free options rather than the cadmium options, knowing that they won’t have to scarify vibrancy, lightfastness or quality!