When the epoxy resin cures completely, it’s considered safe for various applications. Some brands are even ideal for use on food preparation surfaces and tabletop making.
Despite this, specialists advise users to take safety precautions when handling epoxy. You should wear a respirator mask and a pair of gloves. For this reason, one may wonder; is epoxy resin toxic? Well, let’s find out!
Is Epoxy Toxic To Human And Animal?
In general, pure epoxy is considered to be non-toxic, both to humans and animals. Besides, the risk associated with its ingestion is deemed to be very small. Nonetheless, most chemical products in the market today have some level of toxicity. And epoxy is not an exception!
For instance, some epoxy resins may contain epichlorohydrin. This is a certain contaminant that can cause skin cancer in lab animals. Epichlorohydrin can cause cancer in people as well.
So, when you’re looking for epoxy resin, make sure it’s safe and free from such contaminants. On top of that, look for an epoxy that does produce harmful fumes or volatile organic compounds.
Are All Epoxy Resins Toxic?
Chemical composition determines if any epoxy product is toxic or not. This is because epoxies contain different compounds that bond and harden on curing. Fortunately, some products contain natural ingredients, while others have harmful chemicals.
Non-toxic epoxies have safe compounds like BPF (Bisphenol F) and BPA (Bisphenol A). Researchers are still studying the long-term health impacts of these compounds. However, up to date, BPA is deemed safe for consumption.
On the contrary, toxic resins contain harmful ingredients such as VOCs. Unlike BPA, these compounds are harmful and can cause long-term health concerns.
Unfortunately, different manufacturers make their products differently. On top of that, most companies don’t include the ingredients used in their resins. This makes it hard to determine if their products contain harmful substances or not. In short, unless you determine the composition of a certain epoxy, it’s hard to know if it’s toxic or non-toxic.
When Is Epoxy Resin Toxic?
This special type of resin exists in 3 forms; uncured, cured, and dust. To determine if the resin is toxic or not, you need to understand these stages.
The cured state is the final stage where it has completely hardened. Hence the material is said to be not toxic anymore. That’s why you’ll see with epoxy resin, people are crafting tumblers as a hobby or profession. So you can safely touch it and even put items on it.
However, that’s not the case with its dust and uncured/ liquid state though!
Epoxies come with 2 separate components; resin and hardener. You must mix these components to experience their adhesion properties. However, mixing them triggers an exothermic reaction and produces harmful vapors.
Inhaling or breathing these vapors can cause respiratory problems. So you need to wear a breathing mask when working with epoxy. Moreover, you’ll experience immediate symptoms if liquid epoxy contacts your hands or skin.
This is because it reacts with your skin, causing skin rashes and irritation.
Is Epoxy Resin Food Safe When Dry?
The FDA is responsible for testing various products including epoxy to ensure safety. They test the chemicals used in the product and how these compounds react after curing. They analyze the amount of VOCs and BPA left after the compound cures.
Products with no/ low VOCs and BPA are considered food safe.
Unfortunately, most products out there aren’t FDA-certified. This, however, doesn’t mean that epoxy resin products are not food-safe. In fact, some products will become inert plastic when dries. But, if it has VOCs, we suggest that you avoid using it as an adhesive for coating your kitchenware or any other food serving areas.
Yet, of course, there are kitchen-safe resins that exist.
Also, when epoxy cures, you may be required to sand it to create a smooth and polished surface finish. This process produces dust that will also affect your respiratory system if inhaled. For safety purposes, wear a respirator and a pair of goggles when sanding resin surfaces.
What Is Required to Work With Toxic Epoxy Resin?
To protect yourself from epoxy, there are some safety measures you need to observe. This will enable you to complete your project smoothly and healthily. Here are safety precautions you need to adhere to;
1. Use PPE (Personal Protection Equipment)
Before you start working, wear proper protective gear. This includes pants and a long-sleeved shirt to cover your entire skin. Moreover, you’ll need nitrile gloves, a respirator/ breathing mask, and safety goggles.
2. Increase Ventilation
Another need to do is to ensure you’re working in a well-ventilated space. This protects you from inhaling the fumes produced after mixing resin and hardeners. To increase ventilation, keep any windows, doors, and hatchways open. You can also add some fans in the room to increase air movement.
3. Observe Personal Hygiene
After finishing your epoxy project, wash your hands with soapy water or a hand cleaner. This will help you get resin residues off your hands and skin. Also, avoid rubbing your hands or eating any food with hands that contain resin residues.
On curing, the resin is usually considered safe, both for pets and children. However, it’s always good to take the necessary safety precautions while working with it. Remember, uncured epoxy can cause health problems like allergies and irritation. Apart from that, it’s a wonderful product for creating beautiful art and craft items.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is epoxy dangerous?
Most epoxies are not dangerous after curing/ hardening. The problem lies when the adhesive is still in its liquid state, especially if it contains non-toxic chemicals. Also, some epoxies produce a strong odor which can also be dangerous. So, always choose a food-grade certified resin.
2. Can you drink from a resin cup?
Why not! Its coating covers the entire cup, and since the glue is already cured, it’s not harmful at all.
3. Does epoxy resin smell strong? Does it go away?
Some resins produce a low odor, immediately after application. However, this smell goes away when the adhesive cures.