Nacogdoches stained-glass business will feel effects from new more-stringent EPA rules

Nacogdoches stained-glass business will feel effects from new more-stringent EPA rules
Bright, vivid colors of stained glass require the use of heavy metals during manufacturing. The EPA is enforcing rules about emissions at glass companies. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Bright, vivid colors of stained glass require the use of heavy metals during manufacturing. The EPA is enforcing rules about emissions at glass companies. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Spectrum Glass is closing its doors this summer. Darby buys about 50% of his supply from that company. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Spectrum Glass is closing its doors this summer. Darby buys about 50% of his supply from that company. (Source: KTRE Staff)

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The price of stained glass is about to go up. In addition, its availability will become more difficult.

East Texas News visited with Glass Castles, a popular stained glass business in Nacogdoches, to find out why.

Young students taking stained glass lessons at Glass Castles select brightly colored stain glass for their projects.

What they may not realize those vivid colors are created by heavy metals.

"Cobalt, those are made in the hot colors. Reds, yellows, oranges," said David Darby, the co-owner of Glass Castles. "Cadmium, I believe is what makes it green."

The same colors are used in many designs, such as an American eagle, at the shop. but lately, the industry isn't feeling too patriotic. The Environmental Protection Agency is enforcing new rules about emissions at glass manufacturing companies.

"They're making everybody come up to a standard above what it used to be and that's going to cost a lot of money," Darby said.

Spectrum Glass Company, one of the largest of the five major stained glass suppliers in the U.S., is closing its Washington plant this summer.  About half of Darby's sales come from the plant that makes the more affordable glass which is popular with students and hobbyists.

"It's cutting off the life blood for a place like mine that sells raw stained glass to the public," Darby said.

Darby estimates stained glass prices will increase by at least 15 percent. Commissions, such as these church windows, will begin to cost generous donors and others more money.

"So some of those things like that we're going to have to go to other sources which may be more expensive," Darby said.

Lessons may go up and most certainly supplies. The upcoming changes are a reflection on a not so bright future for the stained glass industry.

Darby says he will keep his inventory on hand for as long as it's available. Other suppliers have made the necessary changes to their plants or have found ways to manufacturer their stained glass without heavy metals.

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