correct safety gear when working with epoxy?

Discussion in 'Materials' started by magwas, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. magwas
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    magwas Senior Member

    I am building my first stitch-and glue boat. Actually just the model now.
    I went to the work safety shop, asked for safety gear for working with epoxy.
    They have given me a FFP3 mask.
    To my understandeng FFP ratings are about dust, not chemical agents.
    I could smell epoxy while working, and after half an our I felt little dizzynes.
    Was it only because I wore the thing improperly, or some other type of mask would be needed?
     
  2. tkk
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    tkk Junior Member

    I would use an A2P3 combination. A2 is for solvents and other gases and P3 for dust.
     
  3. TeddyDiver
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    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

    Most propably it was due CO2 build up.. Masks do have a significant "dead airspace" and you got to learn to breath in deep tranquil cycles.. In my opinion you don't need to wear a mask except when sanding etc. Adequate ventilation and closed caps and no spills of non cured epoxy/hardener should be enough.. and the most important safety gear are disposable latex gloves:)
     
  4. Manie B
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    Manie B Senior Member

    Magwas i couldn't work with the masks either, it suffocates me
    you will see on all my posts that i have learned to WORK CLEAN - always
    the smell of epoxy is not a problem as long as your work area is WELL VENTILATED
    latex gloves are a must
    i work with epoxy most weekends and often twice during the week, been doing it now for years and no ill effects at all (been to the doctor for a checkup)
    i do wear a dust mask when i sand - because the vacuum doesn't get it all

    glad too hear you start to build - keep it up - you will enjoy it
     
  5. magwas
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    magwas Senior Member

    Ventillation is a problem. It is winter here, and I figured my last attempt to glue the model together have failed because cold. So I am working in the basement, which is a bit warmer because the boiler is here (some 15C overall, and some 25-30 on top of the boiler, where I store the model to cure). If I would ventillate, the temperature would drop. So I have choosen to wear mask, and I like better to err on the safe side anyway.
    I do wear latex gloves.

    The real one will be built in spring, in the worksho which is well ventillated, but I want to obtain the necessary skills to that time.
    I can cut the parts real fast now, because I am starting the whole process 3rd time:)
    The first failed because bad material (4mm plywood for a 60cm long model:).
    The second failed partly by bad material (wet wood), partly by low temperature, and partly because not getting the amount of thickener right.

    Well, I just cannot do anything right for the first time, but it seems this is what commonly called "learning curve" :)
     
  6. Manie B
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    Manie B Senior Member

    All my info and literature says:

    when working with epoxy the work area MUST BE WELL VENTILATED

    those epoxy fumes will penetrate your house if you are working in the basement
    i suggest that you make a "plastic tent/canopy" over you epoxy work area and connect this to a fan that will suck those fumes to the outside when you are working
    i have read enough about epoxy to be able to tell you that what you are doing is going against the grain of general good practice
    even if you are wearing a mask/filter the room is still full of fumes and you will breathe it in when you take the mask off
    check with your local boys, but this is not good
     
  7. tkk
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    tkk Junior Member

    Finnish instructions tell us to use A2(active carbon) filter in a mask to filter the fumes. If you can smell the substance you are using your filter is either wrong, worn or leaking.
     
  8. Manie B
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    Manie B Senior Member

    Correct

    but you must still ventilate the room, or else the whole house will be full of fumes, your lungs will be clean, but not your wifes:D
     
  9. marshmat
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    marshmat Senior Member

    For sanding cured epoxy, any properly fitted N95 or P100 type particulate filter will suffice.

    For working with the liquid resin, ventilating the workspace is the key. Epoxy isn't nearly as bad as polyester, fume-wise, but still requires good ventilation. If the ventilation is good and there is only a small quantity of epoxy, I don't bother with a mask. For larger quantities, or if the ventilation is poor (basically, if I can smell it at all), most solvent or organic-vapour respirator cartridges will take care of it.

    Gloves are important (tip: wear a few layers of them, and tape them to the sleeves of your coveralls if you tend to be messy). Keep some vinegar handy to soften up any resin you get on you.
     
  10. magwas
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    magwas Senior Member

    There is no noticeable connection between basement and flat. I know, the separation is never airtight, but they have separate entries. And because the boiler is there, precautions are already taken to enable air to come in. I was working yesterday there, and no smell was present up here. Also today morning there was no smell down below at all, because the fire swept it off.
    So it is not ventillated as is, but the fume will not stay forever. And I can wear the mask until getting off the basement after work.
     
  11. peter radclyffe
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    peter radclyffe Senior Member

    cut a hole in your roof, put a helicopter on top, & start it up
    nothing else will save you from epoxy
     
  12. tkk
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    tkk Junior Member

    US standard N95 is approx. the same as P2 in Europe and N99 is more or less the same as P3. But they are all only for dust and other particles, not for fumes.
     
  13. catsketcher
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    catsketcher Senior Member

    It is an individual thing

    I have built 4 boats with epoxy and have had no worries. I know of two builders who have had an allergic reaction to it though.

    An allergic reaction does not equate with toxicity. I find polyester with its huge styrene flash to be much more or a worry than epoxy. Like most of the builders I use gloves at all times and a mask only when sanding, adding thickeners or spraying high build. I like to use a Sundstrom with a particulate and a charcoal filter. If you can smell vapours then your charcoal filter needs replacement.

    As you never know if it may be you that develops an allergy to epoxy it is good to work cleanly. One of my friends needed to use a special mask to supply fresh air to finish his boat. Throw away brushes rather than use toluene or xylene to clean them. I tried vinegar but gave up after a few years.

    cheers

    Phil
     
  14. magwas
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    magwas Senior Member

    I only have a MIG-21 at hand. What if I park it at the door and set to full thrust? Would it help?
     

  15. tkk
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    tkk Junior Member

    At least the ventilation would improve after blowing the roof and walls away :p

    But you need a stand like this for your fan:
    [​IMG]
     
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