The Woodworking Series: How To Work Safely With Epoxy
While most resins have a safe level of exposure, the more toxic a substance, the less time it takes to reach an overexposure threshold. Health issues come into play when those thresholds are breached, compromising your immune system, overall health and tolerance of a substance due to the ingredients being easily absorbed via the skin, through lungs, or ingested.
Epoxy can often include hazardous ingredients and is typically worked with when in liquid form. As it cures, the epoxy’s chemical ingredients react to a solid that becomes non-hazardous and less likely to enter the body unless when sanded.
The most common exposure route when working with resins and hardeners is skin contact. While many think that small contact moments here or there are not detrimental; they unfortunately can be, especially when repeated. Prolonged or repeated skin contact will allow for harmful ingredients to be absorbed.
When working in small spaces, it is important to be cognizant of vapor inhalation and ensure that you have proper respiratory protection and ventilation installed.
Health Effects From Epoxy
Overexposure to epoxy can be prevented with proper care - but when overexposed, epoxy can cause the following:
-severe irritation and chemical burns
-respiratory irritation/long term lung damage
General Guidelines For Epoxy Safety
-set up a safe shop with effective ventilation, and a dedicated cabinet to store hazardous materials
-wear proper respiratory protection, gloves and protective clothing
-use the least hazardous product that will do the job
For more information on epoxy safety - read here.