Epoxy resins are valued for their durability, strength, and resistance to heat, chemicals, and impact.
However, despite their many benefits, there are also concerns about the potential negative effects that epoxy resins can have on our health.
From fumes and dust to skin and eye irritation, epoxy resins can cause a range of health problems, especially when proper safety precautions are not taken.
In this article, we will answer the question of why is resin dangerous. We will explore the ways in which epoxy resins can negatively impact our health and what steps we can take to minimize the risks.
What is Epoxy Resin?
I can’t deny that working with epoxy resin is a fulfilling hobby. Resin is also widely used in the construction and manufacturing industries. Epoxy is even found in some household products.
The resin can be used in many different ways, including applying a thin layer of epoxy to create a protective coating on various surfaces such as wood, concrete, steel, and stone.
Epoxy is a resin 2-part system that consists of a resin and hardener that contains a wide variety of chemical compositions.
Is Epoxy Resin Toxic?
While very useful, working with epoxy resin will negatively affect our health.
This is because epoxy often contains chemicals that can be toxic, such as bisphenol A (BPA) and Volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
BPA has been linked to a number of health problems, including respiratory issues, cancer, and reproductive issues.
What are Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are chemicals that are released into the air as gases.
While VOCs are not necessarily harmful at low levels, they can cause a range of health issues when they build up in enclosed spaces.
Exposure to VOCs has been linked to a number of different ailments, including headaches, dizziness, and nausea. In more serious cases, VOC exposure can lead to liver and kidney damage.
Some studies have also suggested that long-term exposure to VOCs may increase the risk for certain types of cancer.
What is the Difference Between High- and Low-VOC Epoxy?
There are two different kinds of epoxy resins: high- and low-VOC.
High-VOC epoxies are generally used in factories and other industrial settings, such as on oil rigs. These epoxies are very strong and durable, but they also contain high levels of toxic chemicals that can release into the air.
Low-VOC epoxies are generally used in residential settings. They are not non-toxic epoxy resin, but they release fewer toxic chemicals into the air. making it safer for hobbyists to use in its liquid form.
How Toxic are Epoxy Fumes?
When working with chemicals, it is important to be aware of the potential health hazards associated with the fumes.
Prolonged exposure to epoxy fumes can cause liver and kidney damage, as well as central nervous system depression. In extreme cases, death may occur.
While epoxy fumes are not immediately harmful, long-term exposure can be very dangerous. When inhaling epoxy fumes, liver and kidney damage can occur.
How do you Know if you Have Epoxy Poisoning?
When working with resin, it is important to be aware of the potential health risks associated with this product.
You will know you are experiencing epoxy poisoning symptoms if you have any of the following after working with epoxy resins:
- difficulty breathing
- Itching/ skin irritation
- Pins and needles/tingling
Extreme cases of resin poisoning result in loss of consciousness and death.
How Long Does Resin Poisoning Last?
Resin poisoning usually occurs only when a person is exposed to large amounts of epoxy fumes over a long period of time. However, it is possible for even short-term exposure to epoxy fumes to cause health issues.
How Long Does Resin poisoning last?
Poisoning usually occurs only when a person is exposed to large amounts of epoxy fumes over a long period of time.
However, it is possible for even short-term exposure to epoxy fumes to cause problems.
Immediate symptoms will last for as long as the person is exposed to epoxy fumes, however, long-term or repeated exposure to epoxy resins will have ongoing effects often lasting years or even permanently.
Can Epoxy Cause Cancer?
A recent study has found that epoxy, may be linked to cancer.
The study, conducted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), found that exposure to epoxy can increase the risk of certain types of cancer, including leukemia and lymphoma.
Another study found that exposure to epoxy resins increased the risk of developing skin cancer by nearly 60%.
both studies found that those who were exposed to epoxy resins for longer periods of time had an increased risk of developing cancer.
Can UV Resin Cause Cancer
The first thing to understand is that UV resin contains photopolymers, which are compounds that are activated by ultraviolet (UV) light.
When exposed to UV light, these compounds cure or harden, producing the final product. Some of these photopolymers contain monomers, which are small molecules that can potentially release harmful chemicals, such as styrene, when they are exposed to UV light.
However, it is important to note that the amount of styrene released by UV resin is very small, and it is not considered to be a carcinogen by major health organizations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
Additionally, the amount of time that a person would need to be exposed to the resin in order to be at risk of developing cancer is much greater than the typical exposure time for most people who use UV resin.
In addition to styrene, there have been concerns about the use of UV light and its potential to cause skin cancer.
However, the UV light used in UV resin curing is typically low intensity and does not have the same cancer-causing potential as natural sunlight or UV tanning lamps.
Despite the lack of evidence linking UV resin to cancer, it is still a good idea to take precautions when working with the material.
This can include wearing gloves to avoid direct skin contact and working in a well-ventilated area to reduce the risk of inhaling any fumes that might be released during the curing process.
Will Epoxy Give Me a Rash?
Yes, epoxy can give you a rash when the resin comes in contact with your skin.
In fact, it’s one of the most common complaints about epoxy resin.
If you think you have an epoxy rash, it’s important to see a doctor right away.
The doctor may be able to treat the rash with a topical ointment or steroid cream. Sometimes the rash goes away on its own.
Is it safe for pregnant women to work with epoxy?
The simple answer is no it’s not worth the risk.
While there is no definitive answer, some experts say that pregnant women should avoid working with liquid epoxy due to the potential health risks.
Epoxies contain chemicals that can be harmful to both the mother and the developing fetus, and there is a lack of data on the long-term effects of exposure to these chemicals.
Pregnant women who must work with epoxy should take precautions to minimize their exposure, such as wearing gloves and a respirator and avoiding contact with the skin or eyes.
Some experts also recommend that pregnant women who work with epoxy should have their babies monitored for potential birth defects.
Is epoxy dust carcinogenic?
Sanding cured epoxy creates resin dust. Epoxy dust is carcinogenic. Studies have shown that long-term exposure to epoxy dust can lead to an increased risk of cancer. While the exact mechanism by which epoxy dust causes cancer is not fully understood, it is clear that there is a link between the two.
When working with cured epoxy, it is crucial to minimize your exposure to dust.
One way to do this is by using a containment system that captures the dust and keeps it away from you.
Be sure to wear a respirator when working with resin.
This will prevent the inhalation of epoxy particles.
It is also essential to wash up immediately after working with resin. Epoxy dust can make its way into your eyes, causing conjunctivitis.
If you see any signs of conjunctivitis, such as redness or inflammation, you should immediately wash your eyes with water and seek medical attention.
The dangers of long-term exposure to epoxy resin
In addition to causing cancer, long-term exposure to epoxy resin can also damage the liver and kidneys. Epoxy resins contain chemical additives that can be toxic to these organs. Studies have shown that exposure to these chemicals can lead to liver and kidney damage in animals.
Long-term exposure to epoxies can also cause allergic reactions in some people.
In addition, it’s been found that workers exposed to epoxies have a higher incidence of skin diseases and respiratory problems.
If you’re planning to do a lot of work in an area that has high concentrations of epoxy resin, it s probably a good idea to wear a respirator.
When working with epoxy resins, make sure you use nitrile gloves and other protective clothing and eyewear.
Ways to protect ourselves from the harmful effects of epoxies
There are many ways to protect ourselves from the harmful effects of epoxies:
- Wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when using resin. This includes gloves, respirators, and protective clothing.
- Use epoxy products that are low in VOCs. These products have less of a chance of causing health problems.
- working in well-ventilated areas and using local exhaust ventilation when possible to limit exposure.
- Store Epoxy in well-ventilated areas away from direct sunlight and other sources of heat.
- Take care around open flames, such as cigarettes and lighters.
If we do get exposed to epoxy resin, there are steps we can take to limit our exposure.
- Wash off the epoxy with soap and water as soon as possible.
- Change clothes, especially shoes, right away.
- Wash off or wipe down any surfaces we were in contact with.
- Contact a doctor or Poison Control Centre.
In conclusion, while epoxy resins have many useful applications, they can also pose a range of health risks. From skin and eye irritation to respiratory problems, it is important to take appropriate safety precautions when working with these materials.
This can include wearing protective clothing and masks, working in well-ventilated areas, and avoiding skin and eye contact.
Additionally, it is important to seek medical attention if you experience any adverse symptoms after exposure to epoxy resins.
By taking these simple steps, we can minimize the negative impact of epoxy resins on our health and continue to enjoy the many benefits that these materials have to offer.