Oil paints bursting in flight?

Here is a recent question from a reader that I thought I'd share at blog central:

I am planning to bringing 100s of oil paint tubes back from Beijing and I am wondering if they are at a high risk of bursting? Your advice would be highly appreciated. Best, J.


...and my response:

Dear J- If these are tubes of artist's oil paints, my experience has been that there wouldn't be much danger of that. After all, they are regularly shipped all over the world. And while some paints do contain driers and additives that are considered combustible, most are made with just pigment and a nut oil or linseed oil.

But don't take my word as law. Most of the well known brands will provide material safety data sheets (MSDS) for their art materials, which should provide a flash point of the paint in question (combustibility at a given temperature). You could always check the information provided on the MSDS with the airlines to see what their restrictions are. Most likely you will need to check the paints if you are flying commercially. Otherwise they could get confiscated if you try to bring them in your carry-on (but you probably are already aware of that!)

Good luck! (And check out a prior, more detailed post of mine on flying with oil paints from more info.)