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RESIN RESEARCH epoxy resin safety

Resin Research epoxy resin systems safety notes:

Although Resin Research has developed a super safe resin, always be aware !! Suit, gloves, good ventilation and a mask; protect your eyes and ears and use your common sense. If you hate some toxic substance, then you will have to leave the environment.

This resin is very safe to use and with good practice should prove to be totally neutral on your nervous system.

Here is what Greg Loehr says about the safety of his epoxy (translated by us into Italian): "As for health problems, with our epoxy resin (Resin Research), I have never seen any sensitization through a co-toxin. Acetone is responsible for toxins in our business. It serves as a vehicle for toxins through the skin. We eliminated acetone from our shop a long time ago and never had a problem. Now we use soap and water, which work. However better. Even our resins do not contain phenol or formaldehyde, as many other epoxy systems do. There are a few other co-toxins that I have mentioned elsewhere. Our hardeners (component B) also rely solely on cycloaliphatic diamine technology versus amines linear chain. This also helps reduce toxicity. We have also incorporated other safeguards into our formulations to reduce tos safety. This makes our hardeners much safer to use than most other epoxies.

Epoxy Safety Issues: Toxicity. The vapors of most epoxy systems is much lower than polyester resins. The resins we produce (Resin Research Epoxies) are all highly solid and have 1/50 of the vapors of polyester resins. In our shop (which is well ventilated) we don't even wear masks. Epoxy is also NOT carcinogenic. This has been amply demonstrated by OSHA and many other bodies in the industry.

In terms of safety, epoxy in general is a skin sensitizer. This varies greatly between the different epoxy systems depending on the different formulations that the different industries adopt. Older epoxy hardeners are formulated with a chemical known as TETA or another called DETA. These hardener bases are from the aliphatic amine family, are very reactive, somewhat unstable, quite toxic and can easily cause skin sensitization (or dermatitis). Most of these hardeners are also modified with phenol and formaldehyde. Phenol is what the dermatologist uses for chemical skin peels and increases the TETA and DETA toxicity of the skin dramatically. Many of these older hardeners have up to 50% phenol. Formaldehyde is also not an element to be underestimated, as it increases the risk, due to its ability to act as a vehicle for phenol and amines through the skin into the blood.

By the way, the reason these epoxy hardeners are still used today is because they are CHEAP. DETA and TETA cost 1/5 of what a modern diamine-based hardener costs. Anyone who has worked with many of the West System epoxies will be familiar with these low cost systems. Modern epoxy hardeners have nothing to do with their 1960s counterparts. As I mentioned above, they are formulated with modern hecks and have a significantly reduced incidence of sensitization. They also have lower vapor emission, better color, better finish, and less exotherm. They DO NOT contain phenol and DO NOT contain formaldehyde. Our company was one of the first in the United States to formulate and market diamine-based epoxy hardeners 20 years ago, which gives us considerable experience with these chemicals. As superior as they are, they still need to be adhered to as they still impact as skin sensitizers. The simple way to eliminate workplace dermatitis problems is to reduce or preferably eliminate skin contact. This means gloves. Nothing but gloves. We wear disposable vinyl gloves. Vinyl is preferable to latex as rubber gloves are also skin sensitizers.

The other element present in the epoxy industry, even more harmful, is contaminated acetone. Like formaldehyde, mentioned above, it is a vehicle for toxins in the blood. Fortunately, epoxy can be cleaned with soap and water. Not ordinary bar soap, but products or pastes like Go-Jo and Fast Orange. These products are water based and do not act as a vehicle like VOC solvents do. In 20 years of producing epoxy surfboards we have NEVER had an incidence of dermatitis in our shop. I have NEVER seen a case of dermatitis since acetone was abandoned as a cleaning item. Given the aforementioned parameters of our new resins and if the few tips above are followed, epoxies are MUCH safer to use for surfboard manufacturing than their polyester counterparts. "

Greg Loehr March 5, 2003

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