ACTS safety training

Arts, Crafts & Theater Safety

Providing Safety & Hazard Information for the Arts - Worldwide!

"The heroes of this story are people like lawyer Joel Kupferman and industrial hygienist Monona Rossol ... each refused to be lulled by the failures of most of the New York media to report what was actually happening; each helped to pierce the false claims of government officials and to validate the concerns of rescue workers and ordinary citizens, to confirm to them that they were not imagining their ailments."

"Even if all individual contaminants in the air had been below permissible federal safety levels, there is yet another troubling concern for many scientists, what some call the unknown synergistic effect of exposure to even low levels of a variety of toxic substances at one time. 'There were probably a thousand or more chemicals in that soup', says industrial hygienist Monona Rossol. 'No one knows how that could affect a person.'"

-Juan González, Award-winning investigative journalist
Fallout: The Environmental Consequences of the World Trade Center Attack
W. W. Norton & Company (September 2002)

MONONA ROSSOL, M.S., M.F.A., Industrial Hygienist

Monona Rossol is a chemist, artist, and industrial hygienist. She was born into a theatrical family and worked as a professional entertainer from age 3 to 17. She enrolled in the University of Wisconsin where she earned: a BS in Chemistry with a minor in Math, an MS majoring in Ceramics and Sculpture, and an MFA with majors in Ceramics and Glassblowing and a minor in Music. While in school she worked as a chemist, taught and exhibited art work, performed with University music and theater groups, and worked yearly in summer stock. After leaving school, she performed in musical and straight acting roles in Off and Off Off Broadway theaters and cabaret.

Currently, Monona is President/founder of Arts, Crafts and Theater Safety, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to providing health and safety services to the arts. She also is the Health and Safety Director for Local 829 of the United Scenic Artists, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE). She has lectured and consulted in the US, Canada, Australia, England, Mexico and Portugal.


INDUSTRIAL HYGIENE. Monona worked seven years as a research chemist for the University of Wisconsin and a year with an industrial research laboratory. From 1977 to 1987, she practiced industrial hygiene at the Center for Occupational Hazards in New York (now the Center for Safety in the Arts), a group which she co-founded. In 1987 she founded ACTS (Arts, Crafts, and Theater Safety) and continued this work to the present. She has been a full professional member of the American Industrial Hygiene Association since 1984. Since 1995, she also been the Safety Director for Local 829, United Scenic Artists, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE).

ART. Monona was in Harvey Littleton's first college-level glassblowing courses. Her ceramics, sculpture and blown glass were exhibited in over 40 group shows and four solo shows. Her many awards include a purchase prize in the 23rd Ceramic National Competition of the Everson Museum of Art. She worked as a free-lance art conservation consultant/restorer working primarily with furniture, ceramics, and enamels. She is a voting member of the American Society of Testing and Materials sub-committee (ASTM D-4236) that sets toxicity labeling standards for art materials.

TEACHING/TRAINING. For 15 years, Monona taught art and science to students ranging from grade school to college level. In the summer of 1980, she returned to the University of Wisconsin to develop and teach the first two college-level Health Hazards in the Arts courses given in this country. She now has taught these courses in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. She taught the first recorded "Right to Know" OSHA (Occupational Health & Safety Administration) training session for theater in 1986 at La Cage Aux Folles, Palace Theater, NYC. She specializes in OSHA training of art, theater, museum, and art conservation workers and teachers in the US and Canada, and is Certified to train teachers and other public employees in New Jersey and Massachusetts.

BUILDING PLANNING. On architectural projects, Monona liaisons with the users of proposed art and theater facilities to determine precisely which processes, chemicals, and equipment will be used. Then she selects the types of ventilation and safety equipment that must be installed to meet indoor air quality standards and comply with OSHA (Occupational Health & Safety Administration) and EPA regulations. The first such consult was in 1983 for the J. Paul Getty Conservation Laboratory (1983), Santa Monica, CA. Since then, some of the project on which she has worked included the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Phillips Academy, Andover, MA; the Institute of American Indian Art in New Mexico; two paleontology laboratories for de-matrixing the T-Rex known as "Sue" at the Field Museum in Chicago and at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando, FL; Central Washington State University's Art Building, Ellensburg, WA; University of Minnesota art complex, Minneapolis; St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN; Smith College, N. Hampton, MA; The Alley Theater, Houston, TX; Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY; Mercersburg Academy's art/theater building, Mercersburg, PA; Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA.;University of Massachusetts' art building, Amherst, MA; Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA.

WRITING. Monona writes a monthly newsletter, ACTS FACTS (1987- present), on government regulations and research which affect the arts and theater. She also writes columns for the United Scenic Artist's Newsletter and Clay Times magazine. She has written numerous articles, data sheets, and seven books:

  • The Artist's Complete Health and Safety Guide, Allworth Press, (1990; 2nd Ed.,1994; 3rd Ed., 2001). Winner of 1996 Choice Outstanding Academic Book Award from the Association of College and Research Libraries. It provides health, safety, and regulatory information for US/Canadian artists. Included are charts of hundreds of pigments, metals, minerals, solvents, plastics, paints, and other materials used in the art with recommendations about choosing the safest products and the ventilation and other precautions needed to work safely with these materials.
  • The Health & Safety Guide for Film, TV & Theater, Allworth Press, (2001). This book covers the major health and safety hazards and precautions and OSHA regulators applicable to technical theater workers (e.g., scenic designers and artists, costume and prop makers, etc.) and performers.
  • Keeping Clay Work Safe & Legal (1993, 2nd Ed., 1996) published by the National Council on Education for the Ceramic arts. It provides coverage of all the major health & safety hazards and precautions for ceramics and can function as an OSHA training text for ceramics workers and teachers
  • Danger: Artist at Work! Thorpe Publishing, Monona Rossol was senior author with Ben Bartlett coauthor (1991, 2nd Ed., 1996) published in Australia for Australian art and theater workers.
  • Overexposure: Health Hazards in Photography, Allworth Press, co- authored with Susan Shaw, (1991). An in depth treatment of the hazards of photographic chemicals. (Limited availability)
  • STAGE FRIGHT: Health and Safety in the Theater, Allworth Press, (1986, 2nd Ed.,1991). This is the first book exclusively on this subject on record. It covers the major health and safety hazards faced by theater workers. It is now out of print and replaced with The Health & Safety Guide for Film, TV & Theater, see above.
  • Safety Training Manual:Our Right-to-Know Program, International Guild of Glass Artists, (1991). A complete written state right to know or federal OSHA Hazard Communication program for Stained glass studios and businesses. Out of Print.