Advertisement About a month ago someone on AB suggested that we should have a thread on safe, and unsafe, materials to put in invertebrate enclosures. It's a work in progress but here goes: Known Safe Known safe materials are materials that are believed to be safe and have a long history of successful use in the T hobby. Acrylic: Also known as Plexiglass this lightweight and clear material has enjoyed a long history of use in aquariums and tarantula enclosures. Used mostly for enclosure walls and water dishes. Glass: Completely inert as is the silicone sealant used to join them. Used mostly for enclosure walls and water dishes. HDPE & LDPE: High Density Polyethylene is a ridged, generally white, plastic usually found in sheets or in finished products. Low Density Polyethylene is the same as HDPE but flexible. It is considered food grade and is safe for use in enclosures. Almost all spray bottles are made out of this material. Polypropylene: The material Rubbermaid containers and plastic shoe boxes ect... are made out of. Has a long history of safe use. Used mostly for enclosure walls. Polystyrene: Polystyrene is a hard, clear plastic which can also sometimes be foamed to form Styrofoam. A staple plastic that can be found wherever the need for a clear plastic or dense foam can be found. Suspected Safe Materials in this section are believed to be perfectly safe but lack the long history of safe use that the "known safe" materials possess. Chromium: Chrome, as in chromed steel. Intert and makes good, non-toxic rustproofing for steel. Not used at all in the hobby in any quantity. Polycarbonate: Often sold under the brand name Lexan. Clear thermoplastic that resembles acrylic but is much more impact resistant and much more expensive. Not a good material for use in the hobby as it scratches easily, however. Used mostly for enclosure walls. Stainless Steel: Stainless steel is an alloy of carbon steel and magnesium. It is inert and believed to be safe, as are it's component metals. Used in bolts and other fixtures. Note that steel and magnesium alone do not make good materials as steel rusts and magnesium burns. Vinyl: Vinyl is largely colorless. It and most of it's derivative chemicals are believed to be safe and are used frequently in a wide array of applications. Used in everything from fasteners to hides. Unknown: Too little is known about these substances to make a determination one way or the other. Aluminum: Metallic aluminum is a silver colored metal. However, in an oxygen environment aluminum oxidizes and acquires a thin layer of aluminum oxide almost instantaneously rendering the metal anything from silver colored to light gray depending on the oxide crystals' size. Aluminum oxide is believed to be mildly insecticidal. However, the bond between the aluminum oxide crystals and the aluminum substrate is extremely strong so it is unlikely that any of the substance would leech into the substrate or the animal, especially if the oxide layer were hardened though anodization. Potentially Toxic: These are chemicals that are normally considered acceptable for habitat use but can become hazardous under certain circumstances. All of these materials should be soaked in warm distilled water for several days to minimize their risk. ABS: Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene is a black thermoplastic sold primarily as black drain, vent, and sewer pipe. When cut ABS can release noticeable amounts of vapor. Some people use ABS pipes for spider hides but keepers should be advised to buy only pre-molded and uncut sections such as corner fittings, if it is to be used at all. Under no circumstances should this material be sawed or cut. PVC: Polyvinyl Chloride is a white thermoplastic sold primarily as white piping for irrigation water delivery applications. Normally considered safe, PVC is used widely for hides. However, when heated or cut PVC can potentially release very toxic fumes. Keepers should be advised to purchase pre-molded sections instead of cutting their own. CPVC: Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride is a derivative of vanilla PVC. It is a grey thermoplastic usually sold as gray pipes for use in delivering drinking water. Not traditionally used in the hobby like PVC is, it likely exhibits the same properties and suffers the same faults as does standard PVC. Cutting may or may not release toxic vapor, so keepers are advised to buy their sections pre-molded and ready to use. Known Toxic: These are known to be toxic and should never be allowed in habitats. Be aware that this is not an extensive list and just because a material does not show up here does not make it safe. Brass: Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, both of which are extremely poisonous to insects. It is a dull golden color. It's most likely misuse would be as fasteners in the form of brass machine screws. Copper: Copper is a yellow metal often sold in wire or pipe form. It is extremely poisonous to invertebrates and should never be placed in an enclosure. Lead: A dull white metal that is poisonous to pretty much anything. Beware of it certain glass joints such as stained glass and glass boxes not meant for use with animals. Pewter: A dull white alloy used in figurines and other knick-knacks. Highly poisonous. Silver: A shiny white metal that corrodes. Heavy metal toxicity. Tin: A dull white metal often found in certain cans. Toxic. Potentially misused as enclosure walls in the form of a misappropriated tin can. Zinc: A white metal that is insecticidal to the extreme. Beware of zinc fasteners such as zinc bolts and screws! Unless you specifically buy fasteners made out of a different material the chances are they are made out of zinc. Special Caution: This section contains warnings about materials that may not be themselves toxic but still possess a risk to your animals. Glazed Ceramic: Most glazed ceramic is perfectly safe but some glazes are made out of extremely poisonous materials. Make sure the ceramic was designed for food and not ornamentation. Avoid bright colors if possible as these are more likely to contain toxic chemicals. Some glazes are even radioactive such as uranium glaze which is a dull orange. Wood: Woods are hard to clean so they need to be replaced if they begin to mold. Furthermore, certain woods contain insecticidal oils. This is a work in progress, please comment below if you would like to add a chemical or discuss the toxicity of something already on the list. Please, however, structural materials only. I will make a list of cleaning agents and bonding agents soon.