I've been working with pastel for about ten years now, and although I've been aware to keep dust levels in the studio down to a minimum, I never really took the dangers of pastel dust seriously enough before.
Everyone who uses pastel should do a little research into the dangers of breathing in the dust. A simple Google search 'Dangers of pastel dust' brings up more than enough information to convince you that you need to be careful. Inorganic pigments contain metals that are often toxic, such as chrome, cobalt, manganese, nickel and cadmium and these are found in many pastels. The danger appears to come from the small particle size of pastel dust, so small that it floats invisibly in the air and is inhaled by the Artist.
The worst thing an Artist can do, is blow on the surface of his work to remove the dust. I must admit it's hard not to do that, when concentrating on a painting and it's a habit I've certainly been guilty of.
Having researched the dangers I then began some pretty thorough research into what I could do to make sure my working environment was a safe one and I discovered a really first class company called Breathing Space. I telephoned them and they were extremely helpful.
This company makes Blueair-air-purifiers. The amazing thing about them is that they clean the air in your studio so thoroughly, down to a particle size of 0.1 Micron, they are virtually silent, very powerful and yet use no more electricity than a light bulb. I bought the smokestop one, which also removes such things as the smell of solvents when oil painting.
I ordered the product, and it was up and running in my studio the following day. I am absolutely delighted with it and would wholeheartedly recommend it for any artists studio. The clean fresh air is a pleasure to work in!