What Happens if You Inhale While Blowing Glass? Answering this Common Question.
Beginner glassblowers and those interested in learning more about the craft often wonder: what would happen if you accidentally inhaled instead of exhaled when using a blowpipe?
Glassblowing involves many potential dangers due to the fact that molten glass and extremely hot furnaces are used. But besides burns and other mishaps, is there really a possibility of getting hurt by inhaling instead of exhaling?
Inhaling When Glassblowing – Is it Dangerous?
A common fear among new glassblowers is that they will accidentally inhale hot air or even molten glass into their mouth and lungs when using a blowpipe.
Inhaling instead of exhaling when glassblowing really poses no danger to glassblowers. A long blowpipe is used to expand hot glass, and the length of the pipe prevents hot air from reaching your lungs.
If you inhale hard enough, some glass might get into the end of your blowpipe, but it will harden quickly and block up the pipe, preventing you from inhaling anymore and also preventing you from getting any hot glass into your mouth.
Don’t worry too much about inhaling instead of exhaling. The worst thing that will happen is your bubble will deflate and may clog up the end of your pipe.
Interestingly, inhaling can be a desirable technique in some instances. Glassblowers use an inhaling technique when working with molds, and also employ it when reshaping a crooked bubble in their work.
Real Glassblowing Dangers
Glassblowing is dangerous and precautions should be taken when working in a studio. Common dangers when glassblowing include burns and cuts from the glass itself.
Less common but no less serious dangers include retinal damage from staring into a furnace too often, toxic exposure to silica and other chemicals, and heat exhaustion from working with hot glass and very hot furnaces.
When working with hot glass, make common sense decisions and follow all safety precautions. Ask for assistance from other artists when you need it and take breaks if possible.