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RT Firefly 05-12-2015 09:35 AM

Chemical dangers
Several recent threads have generated a concern regarding the potential FATAL consequences of dealing with the various chemicals and materials that we all will potentially utilize in the use and maintenance of our vessels.
I would like to propose a safety "sticky" to remind and possibly educate members regarding hazards inherent in our daily boating activities. If we all could contribute, we may save a set of lungs or an eye or two.

Muriatic Acid Precautions | eHow

Ingredients in Paint Remover | eHow

Scary 05-12-2015 11:08 AM

Good Idea
Purple Degreaser. Has warnings to wear protective gloves. To my surprise after immersing my bare 72 year old hands in this degreaser, the top layer of skin on my hands flaked off over the next couple of days. It's a effective degreaser, maybe I should have believed the warnings.

RT Firefly 05-12-2015 11:44 AM

Mr. S. Unfortunate circumstance but it proves my point (NO disrespect intended or inferred) and I am almost as guilty as the next person in using some products in an unsafe manner. At least you READ the warnings. There have been several recent threads about using muriatic acid, for example, for cleaning cooling systems/parts (heat exchangers etc.) BUT muriatic acid as purchased from a swimming pool store or a Home Despot is NOT a chemical to be fooled with or used in a casual manner. It should be used either outdoors or in a VERY well ventilated environment.
Similarly, sulphuric acid (battery acid). Both are capable of DISSOLVING skin and mucous membranes and blinding eyes instantly. A quick "whiff" of acidic vapors can do some considerable damage to one's person.
By all means, use these chemicals for the described procedures but PLEASE take precautions.
I shuddered when I read a member used muriatic in his kitchen to perform a task. Hopefully, at least, protective equipment (rubber gloves and safety glasses) were worn. I doubt a respirator was thought of.
Everyone is or SHOULD be aware of the dangers of propane on board, some to the extent they refuse to use it. Fair enough. Possibly a little too careful but one can't be too safe.
Another example: I have read the warnings regarding polyester hardener (Methyl ethyl ketone peroxide I believe). From what I have been led to understand, if one splashes this into one's eyes, the resulting blindness occurs quicker than one can rinse with water even if one has water immediately at hand.

Sea Q 05-12-2015 12:12 PM

I'm in the chemical business.
if handled properly it can be safe
But most people get lazy
One big problem is when people mix things and the gases they can be formed
Rules are all over the place some products get classified as dangerous and are very safe others vise versa.
What bugs me is companies that don't follow the rules in labelling or with their MSDS A i saw a big companie (the one involve with that chemical spill in India) msds on a toilet bowel cleaner that basically said don't worry its ok it had less info on it than a msds for water don't use anything unless the msds has been done out properly Just telling you its proprietary does not cut it.

FF 05-12-2015 02:14 PM

Look up Mustard Gas , the stuff to create it is under your sink, just waiting to be combined.

BandB 05-12-2015 03:53 PM

I value my lungs and those of others. I believe strongly in gloves and masks. And I believe in one other thing and that is some chemicals are just not worth using even if they do the job well. There's no telling how many women a generation ago were harmed by oven cleaner. The strong stuff they used does work better. But not worth the side effects.

I think of things as I did in manufacturing where we worked within OSHA regulations but also more stringent ourselves. Sometimes we had to be stern and tell employees if they didn't wear protection they'd be terminated. In an industrial laundry dealing with chemicals they wore respirators and they wore ear protection. I walked through a facility one day and three employees did not have their ear protection on. We'd talked and talked. I had to pull the manager aside and tell him next time I saw that the employee not wearing the protection would be terminated and he, as manager, would be. There would be no questions asked. I remember trying to get people in cutting rooms to wear metal mesh gloves. The old timers were all missing parts of various fingers but still didn't want to wear the gloves. After OSHA documented it the second time, the manager told them that if he walked out there and they weren't wearing gloves it would be automatic termination, even if they were the best cutter and had been there 30 years.

This is how we need to think of safety. We can't consider it an option but we need to condition ourselves to follow rules and procedures to protect ourselves. The products are labeled and warn us. Any closed area we should know there's risk. And when we enter a very loud engine room we need to protect our hearing. Safety is just a matter of discipline.

There's a certain irony as most of us put safety when operating boats as the top priority. We just need to extend that to working on one and then to the rest of our lives.

bayview 05-12-2015 04:16 PM

Isocyanides are an ingredient in some if not all two part paints. Yet people apply them without forced air respirators.

Poach 05-12-2015 05:02 PM

Owned boats for a number of years and the chemicals can be mild to crazy. The mild ones may not even cause an immediate reaction but can stay with you like a cheap souvenir. One pet peeve I have is that not all labeling is specific enough as to what "protection" means.

Xsbank 05-13-2015 02:19 AM

And stay away from hydrofluoric acid! It is commonly used to clean metal and etch glass. It is in some cleaning solutions and it is rarely properly marked because the manufacturers would never sell any if it was. It is entirely nasty and basically evil in a plastic bottle. It eats calcium, which means it penetrates your skin (burns it too if it's strong) and eats your bones. If it's a milder concentration and you get it on your hands it attacks your nail beds so your fingernails fall off. If it's over 50% concentration as in an industrial process and you get it on you, if you have very fast intervention you may survive but it eats you from the inside out so various parts will fall off.

If this isn't a chemical to get you to wear all the protection, nothing is.

Xsbank 05-13-2015 02:22 AM

I already mentioned putting zinc in muriatic acid - it makes large quantities of hydrogen, which we all know is intensely explosive. If it does blow it will shoot acid all over the place and all over you, after you get burned by the fire.

Xsbank 05-13-2015 02:27 AM

Here's a non-chemical one - one of my son's coworkers was using a 7" grinder last week, a Makita I believe, very much like the polishers we like for gelcoat. It caught on an edge and flung the grinder at his leg, which severed the big meaty muscles in this guy's thigh. This was a well-trained, experienced user but he and two coworkers fainted at the sight of his leg! Be careful out there!

RT Firefly 05-13-2015 06:32 AM

Mr. X. "...rarely properly marked..." Not only HF. That's pretty well the reason I started this thread. While muriatic acid IS labeled as corrosive etc., the very fact anyone can just buy it off the shelf leads to a very casual attitude in it's use.
On Off is sold as a stain remover for ICW mustache etc. and it contains both muriatic and phosphoric acids. On-Off Hull and Bottom Cleaner
Instructions say "Just brush on and wash off".
Now I'm NOT suggesting a full hazmat suit and remote air supply BUT as Mr. X states "Be careful out there!"
I hear ya about the HF. When I had occasion to use it, safety glasses, face shield, elbow length rubber gloves, rubber apron and HF neutralizer standing by in a fume hood.

angus99 05-13-2015 06:41 AM

After using On & Off to clean barnacles off the hull of my skiff, I'll never fail to follow the instructions and read the MSDS.

On & Off contains hydrochloric, phosphoric and oxalic acids and, although I was outside, I was technically in a confined space -- lying on my back with the boat's hull inches over my face. I think I got out of there before doing permanent damage, but breathing that stuff for even a few seconds can really burn your airways.

Edit: Ha, Mr RT! Great minds . . .

Here's the source I was citing for ingredients:

Great thread, BTW.

Sea Q 05-13-2015 11:28 AM

We make a salt removing boat wash it removes the yellow bow stains.It contains sufamic and oxalic acids in the bottle it's tough stuff which is reflected in the MSDS .What I did is for retail i used a packaging that has a hose attachment and the only way you can use it is with the sprayer attachment that dilutes the product down to 250 X making it effective but safe for the user.
Bigger sizes are marked on the label with all instructions and cautions for boat detailers only.
Many manufactures are too small to have access to proper packaging to maximize safety they also worry that the packaging costs will take away market share and margin these guys are still living in the past.Manufactures have to assume ,what if the customer does "what ever" it will not hurt the customer or the environment.
Something we have been doing is formulating products that when used or spent have no foam or have fast dispersion rates The commercial guys need it.Retail will follow people have to get over the perception that foam cleans.
In conclusion Manufacturers of a cleaning specific products have to be responsible to their customers and the environment. Not just throw an ECO on the label
If customers want buy things like pure acid off the shelf
Be very careful

jleonard 05-13-2015 01:36 PM

Guilty as charged.
I used muriatic acid this weekend to dissolve barnacle bodies. No gloves but I was careful.
I also have been known to use a bench grinder without safety glasses...after working in factories for 35 years you'd think I'd practice what I've preached.
It's always when you're in a hurry that accidents happen.

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