Every so often we hear about sensitized (rashes) cases in reference to epoxy resin usage. All of the cases we come across have the same common denominator, the use of acetone in the factory. Acetone is a common cleaning agent found in polyester shops across the globe. Acetone allows epoxy to enter into the skin which may or may not cause a skin reaction to an individual.
Surprisingly we see sensitization more often in Europe than in the US. Our hypothesis is as follows: 1) US shops may keep doors open allowing for better ventilation since the weather is warmer, 2) US shops are typically all epoxy or all polyester, therefore eliminating the mixing of epoxy with acetone.
The best way to avoid being sensitized is to remove the acetone from the factory. It is nasty stuff for you and the environment, just google Bob Ross and Acetone. In regard to the cleaning your supplies, throw away your brush and use an old scrap piece of cloth to remove epoxy from your plastic squeegee.
If you have become sensitized to epoxy, we recommend the following:
- Eliminate all clean up solvents. NO ACETONE! Acetone carries that polyamine straight through your skin and into your system.
- Use disposable nitrile gloves. Never use reusable gloves that require clean up solvent to reuse. Acetone goes right through gloves, all gloves. Epoxy doesn’t go through gloves unless acetone helps it get through. Some people have shared that they wear cloth gloves under their nitrile gloves and have suggested that helps. Might be worth a try.
- Reduce contact with the resin/hardener to as close to zero as possible. If you get a bit on your skin, wipe off as much as possible and use GoJo or some other grease remover type soap to get the rest.
- Always have adequate ventilation. Our products have low vapor but you’re at a point where any fumes may cause a reaction. Look into some air purification systems and see what’s out there that could work for you.
- Make sure you replace all bottle caps after pouring these chemicals. This will reduce fumes in your shop.
- Look into polyamine respirator cartridges. They are available and fit regular respirator masks. This should help to reduce contact with fumes.
Most importantly, stay safe my friends…