Encaustic painting is a relatively safe medium to work in since there are no solvents used. As an artist you should pay attention to what you are doing and work in a safe manner. You should have an organized and clean work area that includes a source of fresh air and proper ventilation. Safety and health should be a top priority for anyone working with encaustic art.
Proper working temperatures (between 180 and 200°F) and adequate ventilation encaustic painting is non-toxic. Working near a window exhaust fan and having a fresh air coming in from another part of area where you are working should adequately get rid of fumes. Cross-ventilation in your work area is important because even at recommended working temperatures, wax fumes can be irritants, causing headaches and coughing. At higher temperatures, wax fumes become more and more concentrated, and therefore more harmful, at higher temperatures. We recommend using a thermometer and working within a safe temperature of 180-200°F. Warning signs that your wax is too hot include an acrid odor and smoking.
Heating tools and hot wax can cause burns to the skin. Wear an apron to protect you from spills. Hot wax in deep molds can still be hot and melted in the middle even though the surface looks set. You should read all instructions for use and any safety information included with any of your temperature controlled equipment (i.e., painting iron, heated stylus, hot plates, etc.) If you do not have a sink, keep a bucket of cool water in your work area. If you are burnt, bring the temperature of the burn down immediately by immersing the burn in cool (not cold) water. Do not peel wax off your skin. It will seal the burn from oxygen, and peeling it can tear the skin. Keep the burn immersed for at least half an hour, unless you have a burn kit, in which case apply the dressing once the burn has been cooled down in the water. If the burn is serious, seek medical help.