Medication for epoxy sensatisation

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by laukejas, Jun 28, 2020.

  1. ondarvr
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    ondarvr Senior Member

    organic vapor cartridges are the ones normally used.

    The reason for my concern is that you already appear to have a reaction even though you take precautions that most people don't.

    So just the normal precautions aren't enough. If you're responding to even slight exposure, then the risk of unseen health effects may be far greater than for the average person.

    I'd prefer to stop using epoxy all together than risk the permanent health complications.

    Are you sure you're not allergic to the gloves?
     
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  2. laukejas
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    laukejas Senior Member

    Thanks... But I'm afraid the organic vapor filter cartridges start at $45 per single piece (not pair) in my country :(

    Well, if only there was an alternative to epoxy... A gap-filling, waterproof glue that also works with fiberglass... I don't know anything of the sort except epoxy. So unless I find an alternative, I'm afraid I can't stop using it.

    I was thinking it could be gloves, but I did try different kind of gloves (now I'm using nitrile), and I don't suppose that gloves could cause rashes and on the chest? I mean, I'm not even touching any part of my body with these gloves when working with epoxy.
     
  3. alan craig
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    alan craig Senior Member

    I found this in an online article in coatingspromag.com (2015):
    You might be unlucky and become sensitized to the epoxy resin, which is a much bigger problem because it could mean every epoxy product is off limits. This situation is the real tragedy of epoxy sensitization because it can ultimately strip you of your livelihood. Your body is telling you that it can’t cope with the chemical exposure and, unfortunately, the only option at this point would be to seek another profession.

    For what it's worth, I have successfully used a fan to avoid the consequences of cyanoacrylate sensitisation so, as others have said that might work for you. Also, I bought a filter mask 3M 4251+ to prevent dust inhalation but it also does organic vapours for up to 40 hours, I paid about £30 ($37).
     
  4. laukejas
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    laukejas Senior Member

    Yeah, I'm aware of that article. It is quoted often, but I completely disregard it, because it provides no constructive solution to the issue. It reminds me of that joke when a guy comes to a doctor, and says - "my knee hurts when I bend it", to which doctor replies, "then don't bend it"...

    I am seeing that there are quite a lot of 3M filters that advertise as "organic vapor", yet have different codes and different prices. Like for example 6059 and 6055K. And some of them have "protection levels" such as A1 or A2... I am a bit lost as to what exactly is needed for epoxy.

    I am also reading that epoxy can penetrate even nitrile gloves after as little as 2 minutes. What the hell. I thought these things are impenetrable. But then again, most of the rashes and itching I get is not on my fingers, but my forearms... If this was due to penetration of the gloves and contact with the skin, then it should be the fingers that are affected most...
     
  5. Will Gilmore
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    Will Gilmore Senior Member

    Are you a professional boat builder?

    Perhaps, if your sensitivity is more than an out of control histamine response, the best solution is to divide your shop into wood and glass halves and hire a glass guy while you concentrate on wood. Use more mechanical joinery and less epoxy reliant joints. I don't know what is practical for you.

    You could also learn to specialize in steel construction.

    I hate work-arounds, but it is sounding like this case may be one where it makes sense.

    -Will (Dragonfly)
     
  6. ondarvr
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    ondarvr Senior Member

    When I was very young in my working career I was painting industrial equipment with isocyanate coatings, and not following the recommended precautions that well.

    I went to the Dr to discuss my breathing issues.

    He said, "are you following all of the recommended safety precautions?"

    I said, "no, the company doesn't have that type of equipment and it slows you down".

    He said, "sorry, then there's nothing I can do to help you other than to say stop spraying those coatings.

    That is the correct answer.
     
  7. laukejas
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    laukejas Senior Member

    No, I am an amateur. I love designing, building and racing small sailing dinghies. And I have great ambitions about it. There is no way I would quit it, no matter what. And for the size of the boats I build, steel is not really an option (due to it's weight)... Aside from wood, the only other viable alternative is fiberglass composite with polyester, which is even more hazardous. I work in an extremely cramped 2.5m x 4.7m (8.2" x 15.4") garage, and my new boat just barely fits in it, so no, unfortunately there is no way to divide my shop :D I do use mechanical joints, as well as traditional glues wherever possible. But it's not the gluing of the joints that usually sets off the rashes, it's the coating of large surfaces, which has to be done anyway in order to apply fiberglass and to waterproof the plywood. I don't have anyone else to do it for me, and I wouldn't even want to, because it's part of the fun. I also hate workarounds, I am a problem solver. I will solve this one way or another, and so far you guys already made some really great suggestions :) I am hoping that PR88, a big fan for ventilation, double nitrile gloves, PR88 for skin and Claritine on top of all that, will make a significant difference. If you have any additional suggestions, feel free to throw them in.
     
  8. ondarvr
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    ondarvr Senior Member

    There always seems to be the lingering perception that polyesters are more toxic than epoxies.

    Long term, and I mean decades, of high levels of polyester exposure can lead to some health concerns.

    Epoxy is the opposite, a person can have somewhat serious health issue from the first minor exposure, or years down the road.

    The toxicity of the two are frequently confused due to the odor. Polyesters can have an obnoxious and powerful odor if you're not accustome to it. Epoxies comparatively have little to no odor.

    Polyester can be detected by your nose in extremely low concentrations, far lower than whats allowed in the workplace.

    This terrible odor is one of the unplanned safety features. The odor can be so obnoxious that the typical person will find a way to not be exposed to it before it ever gets to a level that may cause harm.

    Epoxy doesn't warn you, it's like a rattle snake without a rattle, everything is good.....right up until it isn't.
     
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  9. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    Okay, here is the real issue. You are getting the ppm count in the air way too high in that small space.

    Instead of a simple fan; you need air exchanger. An air exchanger costs about $1000. If your climate is decent; you can also use outside air. Install a fan in one wall and another out the other wall.

    You can also install roof attic fans that vent out a wall. One in and one out, but your air is bad man. <- see the period? Bad air. I guarantee it. You only have 1000 cubic feet of air! You MUST get the air changed often; many times per hour. A 200 cfm fan would theoretically provide 5 air changes in 5 minutes or 60 per hour. Epoxy is green for 7 days. Don't do any more work until you build a system. One side can be passive, but you must be careful about creating a simple flow from a fan to a passive vent versus changing the whole building.
     
  10. laukejas
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    laukejas Senior Member

    I believe you. It's just that I tried working with polyester, and compared to epoxy... It just sucks. In almost every way possible. First and foremost because it doesn't waterproof anything, is brittle, epoxy doesn't stick to it, and is weaker in general. I understand it makes sense for composite hulls... But as I work with wood, I hated it :(
     
  11. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    Whenever we epoxied large area in our shop, we opened doors. In the middle of winter, we even had air exchange. Sometimes only 16-30 sqft open; other times doors wide open. Heating system on full blast, no returns in the area are allowed, all air exits out.

    You are probably naturally sensitive to bisphenol, but your air is bad!!!

    Also, I have used about 250 gallons of epoxy. The highest exposure time is dispensing; then mixing; followed by layup, followed by sanding. Do all your sanding in a tyvek suit with extra long chem gloves. It really helps. The reason I am telling you the order of things is my nose is really very good. Using a pump style dispenser can also reduce exposure. My method is to pour and everytime the hardener is opened; hell of a stink.
     
  12. laukejas
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    laukejas Senior Member

    Hey, I understand the alarm, but I think you missed the part where I said that I work with open gate in that garage, and the wind is constantly ventilating everything... Sure, the air might get a bit stale in the evening when the wind calms down, but still, out of 4 walls one is missing, so it's not an enclosed space :D
     
  13. ondarvr
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    ondarvr Senior Member

    In designing a ventilation system, make sure the space has negative pressure. You don't want any fumes forced into a living space if one is connected to the workshop.
     
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  14. laukejas
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    laukejas Senior Member

    Here is a pic from my garage:

    upload_2020-6-28_22-7-30.png

    I'm standing almost at the back wall in this pic. There are no living spaces connected to it.
     

  15. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    I missed nothing.

    If you open a door, your air changes are better, but insufficient. If you have a heating system; that is much better, or a fan in a window. Air inside a building is not guaranteed to change.

    Think of a box. Cut out one side of it. Place a container of acetone inside the box. Then stick your head in the open end and take a whiff. Then open the other side of the box and do it.
     
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