Isocyanates vs Aliphatic Amines

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by snowbirder, May 30, 2015.

  1. snowbirder

    snowbirder Previous Member

    It is interesting my personal experience with these two nasty chemicals varies from most of what I've read.

    I thoroughly enjoyed my isocyanates as compared to tha amines in epoxy hardener.

    I can no longer even go near uncured epoxy. A rash breaks out up and down my arms, I itch everywhere, eyes burn and my body gets stiff and stomach gets a little upset. Massive allergy.

    I can sniff the sweet smell of isocyanates all day long with no effects at all.

    Odd how everyone's body chemistry varies so much.
  2. Canracer
    Joined: Aug 2009
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    Canracer Senior Member

    Although you might be tolerating isocyanates, I don't think that means they should be considered entirely "safe."
  3. snowbirder

    snowbirder Previous Member

    Definitely agree there !

    Not even close to safe.

    Almost done with both of these. Epoxy work is now passed off to an employee

    I guess my point is that epoxy, im my experience and opinion, is worse for the health than polyurethane. It certainly hurts me more these days, after finishing the majority of the build.

    I stopped using epoxy for interior stuff. I use hot melt polyurethane glue, with isocyanates ow, which my body much prefers. Even spraying paint loaded with them had no effect on me, while epoxy has become intolerable.
  4. Charlyipad
    Joined: May 2014
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    Charlyipad Senior Member

    I had a bout of contact dermatitis last summer, mainly on the legs just below the knees, that spot on the front of the calf that rubs on the ladder. It finally went away back in November, after most of my four years of epoxy work was finished.

    I found nothing that would make it go away, but I did notice that hot baths made it worse, along with the rest of my skin. Finally i realized that the hot water was flushing the natural oils away from the skin and leaving it dry.

    So now I wonder what internal damage might have been done and what could a person eat to make internal repairs. For example, if vinegar is good to clean up with externally, then it must be good to "clean up" with internally. I don't know the chemistry, but I do know that apple cider vinegar is all round good stuff, so I take a dose now and then. It is great for indigestion, and I have noticed that indigestion is a symptom of certain chemical overexposure, so maybe there is something there....
  5. AndySGray
    Joined: Jun 2014
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    AndySGray Senior Member

    Less than you'd think...

    The IsoCyanate is related chemically to the Cyanide molecule and IIRC these bond to the oxygen receptor site in the haemoglobin in the blood instead of and excluding the required oxygen. Sub clinical doses are pretty much asymptomatic, though there are carcinogenic issues longer term, but rapidly change to shortness of breath, unconsciousness and death.

    Union Carbide had a factory in Bhopal, India and a leak of methyl IsoCyanate exposed half a million people to various levels of the gas and resulted in 20,000 deaths...

    Bear in mind that there is a big difference between toxic and allergic;-

    A Bee sting can provide relief to symptoms of rheumatism or it can kill someone who is allergic, whereas Carbon Monoxide has a pretty much universal effect at levels as low as 0.8%.

    Please observe all required safety protocols when using Isocyanate paints - They are Safe when used Safely.
  6. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Probably one of the worst consequences of isocyanates is that they cause premature senility. Somehow the age the brains cells faster.
  7. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Almost sounds like Snowbirder was getting high on it. Any volatile organics are best avoided as far as possible, not worth risking it.
  8. snowbirder

    snowbirder Previous Member

    Happy to be all but done with both at this point. My next boat's going to be wood. ;)
  9. SukiSolo
    Joined: Dec 2012
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    SukiSolo Senior Member

    As I understand it, isocyanates (mainly in 2k hardeners) are only a problem when you breathe them in. For this reason, sprays carry them but if brushed/rolled etc they are not actually in the air - just the volatile solvents. For this reason proper spray booths have air fed masks and full extraction through water spray etc etc. Epoxy and associated amine hardener tolerance is more a case of individual association and whether you get a reaction over time or not.

    Personally I got a reaction to a lot of cellulose spraying many years ago and started to get a bad headache within minutes of exposure to the thinners. However a couple of months later, without exposure my 'tolerance' had gone back to a more normal level. I think one should listen to ones body in some circumstances and be aware at all times with all these chemicals. But do read up on the exact effects observed and how the various beasties work, there is some good research out there. So far I have not had any allergy to polyester or epoxy or any specific paints, but others have not been so lucky. Also worth bearing in mind that solvents like Acetone do actually penetrate the skin.
  10. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    So, no epoxy to join the wooden elements and no super glue hardeners in the paint on the wood?

  11. snowbirder

    snowbirder Previous Member

    No. Traditional wood, bronze ring nails and all. :p

    I'm obviously joking. Would never, for $1mil build another boat of this size.

    Not worth the sacrifice in health, sanity and time/giving up years of your life, imo.

    I'll just buy one if I ever switch.

    Hard to see how I could ever improve on this one, so that's not likely to happen though.
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