Does a NON-toxic cleaner exist to remove polyester & epoxy resin from hands & tools?

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by magentawave, Jul 19, 2013.

  1. magentawave
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    magentawave Senior Member

    What is the best cleaner to remove polyester resin AND epoxy resin from hands and tools? I'm hoping to find something that isn't toxic like acetone is. Does something non-toxic exist that works for both resins?

    Thanks
     
  2. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    How about using throw-away disposable gloves, provided of course they don't disintegrate from the resin. Latex I think. Maybe a barrier cream to make the adhesion factor less, and a bit of extra insurance. Doesn't clean your tools though.
     
  3. waikikin
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    waikikin Senior Member

    Cheap vinegar works on epoxy, probably still de-fats the skin & helps chems get in though.
    with polyester washing powder "cold power" & boiling water will clean chopper rollers.
     
  4. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Any acidic liquid will cut wet epoxy and also stop the chemical reaction. Orange juice worked once for me when I leaned against a wet plank, while drinking a bottle.

    Clean up of these "goos" is procedural, more than chemical. The bulk of any spills of drips is picked up with a paper towel, plastic applicator, etc. Next up will be the acidic stuff, like vinegar. To get tools truly clean, you'll need solvents and some mixtures work better than others, such as a 40% toluene, 40%xylene and 20% acetone mixture. You'll just use this to remove the last bit of sticky from things. The bulk of the spill should be up already. On skin, don't use solvents, as it just pushes the goo into your blood stream faster, with a solvent chaser. Use hand cleaner and the citrus based ones are cheap and seem to work good, ones with pumice work better too, plus you don't smell like a pickle for the rest of the day, as you do with vinegar.
     
  5. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    Acetone isnt toxic !

    read the PDS.

    eg
    http://www.dow.com/productsafety/finder/acetone.htm#Anchor-Health-3800


    Health Information

    Acetone has been studied extensively and is generally recognized to have low acute and chronic toxicity if ingested and/or breathed. Breathing high concentrations (around 9200 ppm) in the air caused irritation of the throat in humans in as little as 5 minutes. Breathing concentrations of 1000 ppm caused irritation of the eye and throat in less than 1 hour; however, breathing 500 ppm of acetone in the air caused no symptoms of irritation in humans even after 2 hours of exposure. Acetone is not currently regarded as a carcinogen, a mutagenic chemical or a concern for chronic neurotoxicity effects.8
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2013
  6. hoytedow
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    hoytedow Wood Butcher

  7. magentawave
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    magentawave Senior Member

    I've never been concerned about breathing acetone because I don't, but cleaning myself with it after using polyester resin was always a concern and I didn't read anything about toxic effects from skin contact. The thing is that I don't know of anything else that works as well for cleaning off polyester resin.
     
  8. magentawave
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    magentawave Senior Member

    Someone mentioned using a citrus based hand cleaner to clean epoxy off of your bod but does anyone know if that stuff works for cleaning polyester resin too?
     
  9. waikikin
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    waikikin Senior Member

    Your right to be careful of contact, although acetone might not be directly toxic by contact, most solvents will strip the skin of natural oils, this may lead to better absorbtion of chemical components from the substance your trying to remove. Plenty of people get sensitized to epoxy, no need to assist it further. I've worked in boat building & repairs for decades, plenty of different chemicals, best to keep them outside & off your person, you don't want to be the lab rat that proves the first link to illness!
    All the best from Jeff.
     
  10. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Acetone acts as a vehicle, which drags diluted epoxy, directly into the blood stream through subdural tissues. Obviously you don't want this. It's also going to remove the oils from your skin, dry it out, which leaves it prone to infection. Then there's the exposed cuts and other skin blemishes and imperfections, every single boat builder I know has on their hands and arms, which are direct routes to the blood stream. Again, not a good idea to wash with it.

    The tests list above in regard to acetone, are exposure in the household environment, such as nail polish remover with is a hugely diluted acetone products (something like 3% acetone), which is nothing like the pure stuff I use or the more commonly available, reclaimed stuff from the hardware store.
     
  11. yipster
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    yipster designer

    There is an alternative for aceton cleaning polyester. Got an old can of "MP" cleaner here, think that was the stuff, no specs on mp. Ask your poly shop
     
  12. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    Acetone risk story ...

    In the mid-1980s, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) to facilitate
    the development and dissemination of risk assessments for chemicals.

    Below are just a few of the examples that illustrate the illogical challenges
    the IRIS risk assessments create for risk assessors, and how these
    inconsistencies further undermine the credibility of the IRIS program.

    ACETONE
    IRIS Risk Assessment Level: 0.9 mg/kg/day
    Naturally Occurring Level in Humans: 1.5 mg/kg/day
    The estimated daily dose to infants from the acetone normally present in mother’s milk (1.5 mg/kg/day) exceeds the IRIS-estimated safe level of 0.9 mg/kg/day by nearly two-fold. Thus, the IRIS analysis suggests that the daily doses of acetone in mother’s milk are unsafe to the nursing child. This analysis also does not account for the fact that the human body normally produces 2,000 to 3,000 mg of acetone each day, which is more than 40 times the IRIS-estimated levels – information that was available to IRIS in 2003, but was not used in their revised risk values

    http://www.americanchemistry.com/Po...EPAs-IRIS-Program-Requires-Major-Overhaul.pdf
     
  13. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    What are the potential health effects of acetone?

    Main Routes of Exposure: Inhalation. Skin contact. Eye contact.

    Skin Contact: May cause mild irritation. Can be absorbed through the skin, but harmful effects are not expected.

    http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/chemicals/chem_profiles/acetone.html
     
  14. PAR
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    It's not the acetone itself folks, but the fact that if used to remove goo from skin, it acts as a vehicle to commute epoxy or polyester directly through the skin and into the blood stream, which is precisely what you don't want. This is exactly the same way paint is worked into a surface, the vehicle draws the pigments and dies, into the surface, then flashes off, leaving the solids behind. On skin it does the same, except the dissolved portions of the molecule are now blood borne. If you want to develop problems quick, do a month long epoxy job and wash up with acetone.
     

  15. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    yeah, yeah, got that. I see this repeated over and over again as sage wisdom, but havnt been able to find any scientific papers confirming it.

    If you have enough epoxy on your skin to be dangerous when cleaning with acetone, then you are probably not doing it right anyway.

    On a little divergence from the topic, I found this interesting.

    http://www.foamez.com/pdfs/Epoxy EPS Construction Guide.pdf


    "Most older epoxy hardeners are formulated with a chemical known as TETA or another called DETA. These base hardeners are in the aliphatic amine family, are very reactive, somewhat unstable, quite toxic and easily can cause sensitization of the skin (or dermatitis).
    Most of these hardeners are also modified with phenol and formaldehyde. Phenol is what dermatologist use for chemical skin peels and increases TETA and DETA's toxicity to the skin dramatically. Many of these older hardeners are up to 50% phenol. Formaldehyde is also no picnic as it also
    increases risk because of it's ability to act as a vehicle for the phenol and amines through the skin and into the blood system.
    By the way, the reason these epoxy hardeners are still used today is because they're CHEAP. DETA and TETA cost 1/5 what a modern diamine based hardener costs to produce. Anyone who has worked with many of the West System epoxies are familiar with these low cost systems.
    Modern epoxy hardeners are nothing like their 60's counterparts. As I mentioned above, they are formulated with modern diamines and have vastly reduced incidences of sensitization. They also have lower vapor, better color, better finish, and lower exotherm. They contain NO phenol and NO formaldehyde. "




    I cant figure out if he is putting West Systems into the 'old technology' basket.
     
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