Resin poisoning refers to the intentional or accidental consumption of epoxy-based products. This can occur if you breathe in its fumes or swallow epoxy resin. And like other complex chemical compounds, this can have severe health impacts.
To understand the impact of the poisoning, it’s good to know the resulting signs and symptoms. That way, one can manage the effects and take the necessary preventative precautions. Unfortunately, most people don’t know the symptoms of resin poisoning.
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What Are The Side Effects Of Using Epoxy Resin?
Various symptoms result from resin poisoning. And these side effects may occur in different body systems. It’s also worth noting that these symptoms tend to vary from one person to another.
For that, the symptoms can be severe in some, and mild in others. This will depend on the patient’s overall health condition. They’ll depend on the amount as well as the name of the product swallowed. So exposure to resin can lead to various potential health effects.
Here are some common side effects associated with resin poisoning;
Allergic dermatitis is one of the most common harmful effects of exposure to epoxy resin. This condition occurs when the body overacts because of a certain allergen. It’s also worth mentioning that this condition can occur after one or several exposures.
More notably, the chances of developing this condition depend on your immune system. Also, it will depend on your frequency and degree of exposure to resin.
The allergic reactions can either cause respiratory problems or irritated skin. But skin irritation is the most common effect. Some symptoms of skin irritation are; red eyes, itching, and swelling.
This condition is a bit tricky to diagnose, especially since they’re many kinds of epoxy.
However, in some instances, medication can treat the symptoms. If you’re experiencing an allergy because of exposure to resin, avoid epoxy for days. And if the allergic reaction persists, consult a health professional.
2. Respiratory Irritation
Mixing resin and hardener triggers a reaction that remains active until epoxy cures. During this reaction, the mixture produces adhesive vapors. Inhaling these fumes can lead to various respiratory issues like irritation and asthma.
You can also experience these problems by sanding partially cured epoxy. This is because sanding produces reactive dust particles. When these particles are trapped in your respiratory system, they cause allergies & irritation.
Some resins can cause skin cancer. This is because some formulas may contain carcinogenic ingredients like epichlorohydrin. So, make sure you choose formulas that are 100% safe and free from harmful compounds.
4. Chemical Burns
Chemical burns are not that common when you’re handling a hardener. But, if it remains on the skin for long, the compound can cause severe irritation and moderate burns. This starts with slight pain and irritation. Over time, the burn can slightly scar or discolor the skin.
Nonetheless, these factors will depend on the hardener concentration and the affected area. However, always make sure you get epoxy resin off your skin right away.
How Dangerous are Toxic Epoxy Resins? Should You Choose to Work With it?
As can see, there are many health problems that epoxy can cause. This is a clear indication that it’s not the healthiest option available. So, should you work with it?
Fortunately, not all epoxies in the market are harmful. Instead, some are made up of natural ingredients and are free from toxic substances like VOCs. Besides, they don’t produce unpleasant smells, thus creating a healthier environment.
By observing the right safety precautions, you can safely use epoxy. For instance, you should always have the proper PPE when undertaking your project. Also, work in a room with adequate ventilation and your projects will always go as planned.
What if You Inhale too much Resin Fume?
In its liquid state, epoxy evaporates to form respirable fumes. The evaporation process increases with high temperatures and poor ventilation. Sanding uncured epoxy can also produce respirable particles containing hazardous components.
Inhaling the produced fumes or dust can affect the throat, lungs, and nose. The fumes become trapped in the respiratory lining, causing serious health issues. Symptoms of inhaling epoxy involve inflammation & irritation of the lungs, nose, and throat.
High amounts and repetitive exposure to those fumes can cause asthma and sensitization.
Sensitization refers to experiencing allergic reactions because of exposure to resin. This condition can happen at any stage, regardless of the duration or extent of exposure. For instance, you can get an allergic reaction after breathing epoxy fumes for the first time.
However, breathing greater amounts of fumes increase your chances of getting this condition.
One challenge of sensitization is that even small amounts can trigger a reaction. Therefore, working with this material will become very difficult once sensitized. Worst of all, there’s no certain way of curing this condition.
On the good side, there are methods you can adopt to relieve the resulting symptoms.
What Can Resin Do to Your Lungs?
Breathing epoxy vapors can cause some people to develop lung diseases like asthma. Asthma is a permanent health condition. So, once you get asthma, even the slightest exposure to resin will trigger an attack. Also, an asthma attack may occur at night or after work.
Some symptoms of asthma include;
- Breathing difficulties
- Chest tightness
Can Resin Fumes Make You Sick?
Inhaling epoxy fumes doesn’t cause volatile problems. In most cases, the curing agents have a pungent smell that causes temporary irritation. However, breathing these fumes doesn’t usually result in poisoning. That’s not always the case though!
Remember, resin is a chemical compound. So, like other chemicals, they can make you sick, especially when they’re not used safely. For instance, inhaling highly concentrated resin vapor can cause sensitization and respiratory irritation.
For this reason, always take the necessary safety precautions when handling epoxy. Also, make sure you read the manufacturer’s instructions before you any resin. Observing these conditions will enable you to work safely with resin for a long time.
Tips to Avoid Getting Poisoned
1. Wear a Mask
The face and eyes are some of the most exposed places to epoxy fumes. Therefore, you must protect these body parts from exposure to fumes. And the most effective way to achieve that is by wearing a respirator mask when handling epoxy.
2. Get Rid of Epoxy Fumes
Another way of protecting yourself from resin fumes is working in a ventilated area. For instance, you can open any windows and doors or even work outdoors. If that’s not possible, increase ventilation and air circulation by putting a few fans in the room.
Alternatively, you can get rid of the fumes by buying a fume extractor. This system traps all the harmful vapors, preventing them from affecting the users.
3. Use Non-Toxic Resins
Lastly, look for epoxy products that don’t pose any health threats to the users. In other words, choose epoxy resins that are non-flammable, non-toxic, and non-harmful. That way, when the resin and hardeners react together, they’ll not leave respirable fumes or VOCs.
Thus eliminating any potential threats associated with epoxy vapors.
In general, resin poisoning can affect various systems of the body. For instance, it can affect your lungs, nose, esophagus, stomach, throat, mouth, and eyes. The effect will depend on the extent of damage and how fast they receive treatment.
Most cases of resin poisoning aren’t fatal though. Nonetheless, one should get the appropriate treatment as soon as possible.