Limiting your exposure to hazardous materials is the first step in preventing overexposure. This entails more than just wearing goggles, respirators, and protective clothes. While the following rules are intended for use in an industrial context, they can also be used by non-professional epoxy users. To protect oneself against epoxy or other dangerous compounds, follow the precautions below.
Step 1: Decide which epoxy products to utilize based on your research. Use the safest product available to complete the task. Often, a product with minimal health risks that is suitable or even superior for the job can be found. This can help to lessen or remove the cause of the hazard.
Step 2: Create a secure store. Install protective equipment or follow procedures to avoid or decrease exposure. This can involve things like ventilation and specialized hazardous material storage. Effective ventilation can range from high-tech air-filtration and exhaust systems to simple floor or window fans, and it can be used to remove a variety of vapors and dust. Hazardous materials can be stored in a separate cabinet or isolated room to help limit exposure.
Step 3—Adopt proper protection gear (goggles, safety glasses, gloves, respirators, protective clothing, and so on) for the job at hand. Gloves, eye protection, and protective clothes are the bare minimum for most epoxy users. Respiratory equipment, such as an air-purifying respirator with an organic vapor or multi-contaminate cartridge, can help protect you against epoxy vapors. A dust/mist mask or respirator with a N95 rating or greater is the recommended respiratory protection against epoxy dust, wood dust, and nuisance dust.
Preventing Epoxy Resin and Hardener Overexposure
Exposure limits for WEST SYSTEM and PRO-SET epoxy resins have not been determined by the government. We recommend that you limit your exposure to the levels authorized for the raw components used in the product’s formulation, as listed on the MSDS. For the safe use and handling of our epoxy materials, follow the steps below.
Avoid contact with epoxy resin, hardeners, mixed epoxy, and partially cured epoxy sanding dust. When working with epoxies, wear protective gloves and clothing. Barrier creams for the skin give an extra layer of defense. Remove any resin, hardener, or mixed epoxy that gets on your skin as quickly as possible. Because epoxy resin is not water soluble, remove resin or mixed epoxy from your skin with a waterless skin cleaner. Because epoxy hardener is water soluble, wash your skin with soap and warm water to remove any hardener or sanding dust. After using epoxy, removing amine blush, or sanding epoxy, always wash thoroughly with soap and warm water.
Continue to wear your clothes if you are unable to entirely remove it. If it’s mixed epoxy, you can put the garments back on once it’s entirely dry. To remove epoxy from your skin, never use solvents.
If you have an allergic reaction to the product, you should stop using it. Return to work only after the symptoms have subsided, which normally takes several days. Improve your safety precautions when you return to work to avoid exposure to epoxy, its fumes, and sanding dust. If issues persist, stop using it and see a doctor.
Wear suitable eye protection to protect your eyes from epoxy resin, hardeners, mixed epoxy, and sanding dust. If epoxy goes into your eyes, rinse them out with low-pressure water for 15 minutes. If the pain doesn’t go away, see a doctor.
Concentrated epoxy fumes and sanding dust should be avoided. Despite the fact that all of our epoxies have a low volatile organic content (VOC), vapors can accumulate in unventilated areas. When working with epoxy in restricted spaces, such as boat interiors, adequate ventilation is critical to avoid overexposure. Wear suitable respiratory protection if your workspace isn’t well ventilated.
When sanding epoxy, especially partially cured epoxy, provide ventilation and wear a dust/mist mask or respirator. Sensitization is more likely if you breathe partially cured epoxy dust.
. Although epoxy cures quickly to a sandable solid, it can take up to two weeks to cure entirely at normal temperature or at elevated temperatures after curing.