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Old 07-20-2018, 07:03 AM   #1
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Epoxy sensitization

Yikes!

Just had a rough experience with epoxy. Everyone who uses it should be warned /reminded about epoxy sensitization.

I have been using it for the last year, not overly cautious with getting it on me, but always using gloves and washing up. Three days ago I epoxied up a board with west system 105 and 207 special clear. Got a little on my finger, didn't wash it off completely and had the windows closed because it was raining, though my ventilation fan was on high. Over the next few hours my eyes swelled shut and I got a bumpy red rash all over my body. I'm still coming back from it today!

Please familiarize yourself with epoxy sensitization, I had not been educated about it. Apparently it is some form of allergic reaction that gets worse the more you are exposed. Use only in well ventilated areas, and always take care not to get it on your skin! Follow those steps and you should be fine.
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Old 07-20-2018, 07:17 AM   #2
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I have a doc friend that started a wood airplane, he had to quit when he got allergic. I don't wear gloves all the time and I use west and it doesn't bother me. I used it in a product I mfg, plus the boat building. gary
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Old 07-20-2018, 08:04 AM   #3
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Yikes! Good warning. Thanks. Glad you're recovering.
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Old 07-20-2018, 08:18 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary View Post
I don't wear gloves all the time and I use west and it doesn't bother me.
It doesn't bother you NOW. That's the point with epoxy. It builds up over time. You can be exposed over and over for years, and have no problems with it. Then, suddenly, one day, completely out of the blue, you start having a reaction and are no longer able to be exposed to even a little bit without being incapacitated the way that Westiculo was.


That's why it is important to take all of the recommended precautions, right from the very start. Even if it does not seem to be affecting you, it is.
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Old 07-20-2018, 08:41 AM   #5
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And unfortunately, once a person becomes sensitized it doesn't really go away. So any further exposure to uncured epoxy even weeks or months later can bring back the reactions. Part of the problem with epoxy is it does not smell very strongly so it doesn't seem like you're inhaling much but the vapors are still there! In addition, even though epoxy might be cured hard the next day it is still chemically active for up to 2 weeks. Not just a dust mask but a respirator should be worn whenever sanding epoxy.

Ken
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Old 07-20-2018, 10:05 AM   #6
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In Carolina, we call it "glue flu". Some seem immune, others have to find another line of work.
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Old 07-20-2018, 02:50 PM   #7
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I love the smell when sanding epoxy

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Old 07-23-2018, 08:49 PM   #8
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PROTECT YOURSELVES. THe sensitization is NOT hooey. I made myself darn sick twice from this. Luckily I don't seem to have been otherwise affected.
When i started googling and asking questions and getting literature. even your eyes can absorb the vapours.
What's worse is it may not be just epoxy that you become sensitized to but other common chemicals that we often use, paints, paint solvents, oils, etc., etc. THe after effects can be quite serious. Think if you are a mechanic or painter or ANYone who uses other chemicals in their work or hobbies.

I now wear a proper face mask with appropriate filters, not dust, , rubber gloves, and if working in an enclosed place I set up good ventilation.

Yeah, I know it sounds like the world may come to an end but not if you ask for info on how to protect yourselves and then do it.


In reality even the fumes from other types of resins such as polyester can be almost as bad.


And Lou, don;t be foolish.
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Old 07-23-2018, 08:58 PM   #9
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I am fairly careful when using epoxy and have not had any reactions to it so far. I did however have a reaction to spraying Brightsides paint. After that I started using forced air respiration when spraying it.
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Old 07-23-2018, 09:07 PM   #10
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When I said I don't always use gloves, I should have said that I mix it in a tuna can using a 2 inch brush. So I don't get any on me, but you bump into some wet now and then, but I wipe it off right away. But I bet if some one as cleaning up with acetone that would drive it into the blood sys and I bet that is not good.. But I am 72 now and have been working in polyester and epoxy most of my life, so far I am still around. But you have to be careful with any solvent.
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Old 07-23-2018, 11:26 PM   #11
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Skin is still falling off my face a week later! I'm sure it effects everyone differently. I didn't use solvents to clean it up or anything. Just got a little on my skin and only had modest ventilation setup indoors.
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