We have been very successful in economically replacing cadmium in the low- and medium-durometer applications," says Mitch Silkotch, market development manager for thermoplastic additives Akzo Chemicals Inc.
Still, suppliers and compounders agree that if cost is not a concern, there is no application for which a cadmium alternative cannot be used.
Cincinnati, which successfully has removed cadmium pigments from its concentrates.
In some cases, organic pigments are believed to adversely affect the cooling characteristics of resins in a mold-providing poorer heat-transfer than cadmium, resulting in warpage and shrinkage.
In many cases you can replace cadmium with an organic and it will cost more," says Joseph Cameron, Color Technical Support Manager for GE Plastics'total Quality Technology Center, Washington, W.
Because of doubts about what they may be getting into as well as the price factor, many processors are reluctant to switch and are opting to stick with cadmium colorants.
But as the price of cadmium soared to more than $8/lb a few years ago at about the same time the metal came under attack from environmentalists, pigment and concentrate suppliers rushed to explore alternatives.
Reds have proven a bit more difficult and the bright oranges, in which cadmium works so well, have caused the most problems.
Scores of artists have written to members of the Senate in an effort to gain an exemption for fine-art cadmium pigments.
The most vocal and visible proponent of a cadmium exemption for artists is New York City gallery owner Sherry French.
Banning cadmium would devastate the art industry," French contends, noting that these pigments provide the brightest tones of colors ranging from yellow to deep maroon.
Though painters seem to agree that a sweeping ban on cadmium would deprive them of pigments that offer a unique combination of vividness, opacity and long-term stability, some admit they could get by without them.
Some artists, particularly jewelers and enamelers, face health threats from some of the same cadmium compounds they seek to keep on the shelves of art supplies stores.
advise artists against using cadmium pigments in airbrushes, which turn the paints into easily inhaled aerosols.
For painters who use hand brushes and buy prepared pigments rather than mix their own, McCann says the risk of kidney-damaging cadmium exposure would be low.