Here are some quotes from other users with allergy
|I have seen symptoms occur in 2 ways. One is your throat and lungs mainly from the fumes can be sensitized. After being away from the epoxy for months I can come in contact with the fumes and get a constricted throat and windpipe almost instantly and it will last for weeks. A friend of mine has a major problem with dermatitis on his skin. He comes out in a mess of red raw rash all over. He has gradually got worse despite long breaks from epoxy but is now wearing a full air supply suite (in the tropics) to do any epoxy work, or employing someone else. When he gets really bad he goes to sea and spends as much time as possible in the sea water. He reckons this helps heal it all up ready for the next dose. You have to be dedicated to put up with, or as I prefer, be bloody stupid.|
|Anyone and everyone eventually becomes sensitized
to epoxy - that is the problem. Dust from sanding, fumes and direct
exposure all are problem areas
I have become sensitive and have to take care.
The usual route is direct exposure - that's why you see the professionals in the white suits masks etc. Follow their routine, sweat like mad - but don't become sensitive
My skin is now that when I get epoxy it on I come out in a raw crusting rash - the best is if I get if cleaned off immediately is just to get away with a bad red rash for 2-3 days.
My eyes/nose stream and become read on dust exposure - so it is gloves and googles when sanding with lots of open air.
I thought for years it won't happen to me... So take the advice and protect yourself.
|He ignored the effects of the rash he
kept getting and his skin got so bad that he couldn't make a fist or even
grasp a basketball without cracking it and causing bleeding. This
went on for about 5 years, then his reactions went away and he is now
de-sensitized. IMHO, that's pretty extreme medicine. Bloody stupid,
I believe was the quote ;-)
I became somewhat sensitized, but just get itchy with maybe a bit of rash. Another person working on my boat got so bad that if he got even a drop on his skin *anywhere*, the inside of his elbows and the backs of his knees would get a horrid rash.
|There is an other point to all this.
without going into the molecular biology of it, epoxy can interfere with
your dna: in a nutshell, it is persistant and exposure now may not express
an effect for months or even years to come. So. Just 'cos you ain't
affected yet, doesn't mean to say you won't be affected in future - even
if you never touch the stuff again.
|Q: I've read that exposure to epoxy
leads to allergic sensitization, but haven't read what kind of
A: Contact dermatitis is by far the most common. Caused mostly by skin exposure to the hardener, but also to a lesser extent to the resin.
Q: Has any member on the list been sensitized to epoxy?
A: Many. You can actually become sensitized the *first* time you are exposed to uncured epoxy.
Q: Will cured epoxy dust cause sensitization?
A: Dust *always* contains small amounts of uncured hardener and resin...
Q: What are the symptoms of sensitization?
A: Covered by others. These reports are *not* exaggerated and *are* typical.
Q: How is it treated?
A: Permanent distance from uncured hardener and resin is the only certain cure. Understand, this means if you get sensitized, you *leave* the boatbuilding business--or suffer horribly, as related here.
Q: How long does treatment last?
A: Only so long as you stay away from epoxy. It's for life.
*Always* suit up. *Always* wear a quality mask (not a paper one...). *Always* wear gloves, and change them often. If you can, use resin systems designed for home builders, such as WEST or System III. These use the least toxic resins and hardeners available. Do some hard research into epoxy toxicity. WEST and System III spend a lot of time and energy educating their customers. Check them out.
|My brother has an allergy to epoxy, he gets welts between his fingers and toes, first then welts elsewhere blood is close to the surface. He gets the reaction from everything from unmixed resin to dust from sanding. He wears nonlatex gloves which are chemically close to epoxy and also cause allergy. Other than skin problems he has no other reaction. I have been told that there are two kinds of epoxy, one that causes skin allergies and one that causes liver problems, West epoxy is of the skin variety, Saf-t-Poxie(sp) is of the liver variety. My own personal reaction is severe thirst and lack of appetite for a few hours.|
|1. When this was last discussed a few
years back one of the dire warnings was to NOT wear latex gloves. Use
washing up gloves or chemical gauntlets. Apart from possible sensitivity
to the powder _inside_ the gloves (honest !) some of the chemicals travel
through latex and become even more toxic for it.
2. Most epoxy hardeners are proven carcinogens. be extremely careful.
3. A lot of the documentation is couched in pleasant language. A particular epoxy is not evil and deadly but "aggressive".
4. For sure some are more aggressive than others but on the basis of no free lunches alone my guess is that the more aggressive probably stick better. SP Ampreg 20 seems moderately benign with apparent much lower levels of fumes but this is my feeling not a scientific analysis.
5. For sticking stuff together Ciba Geigy 2000 series resins are available in self mixing guns. Optimum mix, minimal contact with the product, maximum price. The stick airbusses together with this stuff though.
6. Acetone is evil stuff. Apart from completely denuding the skin of its natural oils it washes whatever is on the skin straight through and into the system. Probably not the substance with which to remove epoxy hardener from the skin ! I understand vinegar works OK with epoxy.
7. Before we run off and abandon composite boats, I should point out that quite a number of woods and wood glues are toxic as well :-)
|I have been using the Aplied Poleramics
epoxies on the outside of my first hull and I have started to get a nasty
rash and I was starting to get concerned about all the work in tight
spaces where it would be just about impossible to get the stuff from
getting all over me.
After talking to the designer I am going to do the underwater parts of the boat in epoxy (and finish odd the 55 gallon drum that I have) and do the remainder in vinylester so that I can go sailing without looking like a strawberry.
|First of all, I have a very sensitive
skin. I have always used barrier cream and gloves, but in the very
beginning I was not careful enough and sometimes still got in contact with
small amounts of resin or not fully cured epoxy. That, plus sanding not
fully cured epoxy did it for me.
Watch out: if your allergy is as bad as mine it does not mean a little bit of itching. What I am talking about is waking up next day with a bad rash (from dust) and/or badly healing itching bubbles from contact with resin. Both require a new layer of skin every time! I am extremely careful now and can work without much trouble.
Here is what I learned:
Most dangerous: Unnoticed contamination of work area, tools, dust mask particularly the bands that hold it, gloves and cloths. Preferably wear a dust mask all the time while in your work area.
Gloves: Disposable gloves ( not latex!) rip very easily and I generally find them to be too short. There is a big risk of touching something with you wrist, particularly when handling large amounts of fairing compound or laminating in difficult spots. So I also used disposable plastic sleeves to protect the arms. Problem: rubber bands and they will not stay in place. So I switched to long sleeved, thicker re-usable gloves. Next problem is then contamination of the inside.
Here is my more or less foolproof system:
A. Mixing, Laminating and putty work:
1. Long sleeved shirt.
2. Barrier cream on hands , arms and (important) face, neck .
3. then disposable gloves
4. then disposable plastic sleeves up to the elbows, in which I poke a hole to put my thumb through so that they stay in place
5. on top: long sleeved rubber gloves thick or thin depending on job. Sometimes it is still necessary for very delicate jobs to work just with the disposable gloves and sleeves.
6. Dust mask for making up fairing compound.
I actually re-use the disposable gloves if they are still clean and the sleeves from fairing work several times, but always rest them for at least a week and inspect them before re-use.
I find sanding dust a big problem, especially in the face and on the back of my hands. I tried wet sanding but found it even worse than living with the dust. Avoid sanding uncured epoxy. Preferably wait a week or so before sanding! (Of course, in real life that is impossible!) Be especially careful when temperatures are low.
For hand-sanding not hundred percent cured epoxy/fairing compound:
1. Wear long sleeved shirts and pants. Wash after every use. I tried the Tyvek disposable suits, but found that I needed too many of them. They rip too easily.
2. Barrier cream as above
3. then thin (disposable) cotton gloves . Change cotton gloves every few hours. Sweat and sanding dust are a very bad combination. Wash the cotton gloves after every use.
4. Then long sleeved rubber gloves on top. (do not use them for wet epoxy work)
5. Tyvek-style disposable hood to keep dust away from hair, neck if sanding above breast level.
6. Good dust mask, not the disposable ones, you will need far too many and the good ones are expensive! Clean dusk mask regularly.
7. If sanding overhead: Goggles. Never rub eyes!
8. Have vacuum cleaner running when sanding really fresh fairing compound for repair work
9. Shower immediately after work.
10. Avoid sanding several weeks in a row.
If for any reason you still touch resin or uncured epoxy, immediately clean it with special resin cleaning paste and water. Take contaminated cloths of immediately and clean the area underneath! I found that I can avoid a serious reaction if I do it quickly enough!
I still sometimes get a rash under the rim of the mask, (Sweat, rubbing rubber and collecting dust). If I would start again, I would invest in one of the face masks/hoods with a battery driven forced air system on your hip that puts the hood under a slight over pressure. I tried them: very comfortable, no sweat, no goggles,.. but they cost from $ 600 upwards.
I have not had real problems for several months now and certainly will continue to work with epoxy.
Hope this helps.
|I've been using epoxy as an amateur
boatbuilder off and on for 32 years. I'd guess I've been through roughly
150 gallons. I've never had any reactions from it. Though I
always wear gloves now, I often didn't or was sloppy about getting it on
my skin in the early days. I never used solvent to clean skin though. I often would sand without a mask if I was
outdoors and not breathing a lot of dust, though I usually would use a
kerchief. Now I wear a respirator for sanding. I usually only use a respirator for application if I am in an enclosed space. If I am mixing and resining all day, after a few hours I can "taste" epoxy, which is kind of creepy, but after awhile it goes away. I used mostly WEST but have switched to System Three the last 5 years or so. I'd say that on a scale of 1 to 10 my safety precautions rate about a 5 to 7. I can only think that I have
been lucky to not have had a reaction from it. I think a lot of it depends on personal chemistry. Some people can bathe in it and nothing happens and others look at it and break out. Working clean and not trusting to luck is the smart thing to do. Anyone starting to use it has no way to know if they will be lucky or not, and in the middle of a big project allergic reaction can be disastrous.
Here is just one link about this allergy:
I have been working with epoxy resins for 30 years, and
still suffer the occasional bout of rashes, sneezes and sniffles, when I am
careless, or working in an enclosed space. A lot of the reactive
effect comes from inhaling the vapours, particularly with some of the faster
amines in the formulation. Wearing a dust mask, or a vapour mask
(usually much more expensive, and heavier) helps.
Epoxy makes my skin break out in a rash also. It never
bothered me for years but it finally caught me. I only use it for
woodworking and I am OK if I wear gloves and clean up with denatured alcohol
Epoxy exposure is awful. Rashes and blisters are the tip of
the iceberg. It can lead to respiratory failure and/or cardiac failure. Be
careful with it. I use a tyvek suit with a hood and gloves, my wrists and
ankels taped, respirator, and Goggles, not glasses, since vapors still get
in through the soft tissue, and baby powder on my exposed skin.
Vapor from most epoxies is much lower than it's polyester
counterparts. The resins we produce (Resin Research Epoxies) are all high
solids and have 1/50th the vapor of polyester surfboard resins. In our shop
(which is well ventilated) we don't even wear masks. Epoxy is also NOT a
carcinogen. That has been well proven by OSHA and many others in industry.
What epoxy is, is a skin sensitizer. This varies greatly between different
epoxy systems depending on different company formulations. Most older epoxy
hardeners are formulated with a chemical known as TETA or another called
DETA. These base hardeners are in the aliphatic amine family, are very
reactive, somewhat unstable, quite toxic and easily can cause sensitization
of the skin (or dermatitis). Most of these hardeners are also modified with
phenol and formaldehyde. Phenol is what dermatologists use for chemical skin
peels and increases TETA and DETA's toxicity to the skin dramatically. Many
of these older hardeners are up to 50% phenol. Formaldehyde is also no
picnic as it also increases risk because of it's ability to act as a vehicle
for the phenol and amines through the skin and into the blood system. By the
way, the reason these epoxy hardeners are still used today is because
they're CHEAP. DETA and TETA cost 1/5 what a modern diamine based hardener
costs to produce. Anyone who has worked with many of the West System epoxies
are familiar with these low cost systems.
My biggest advice is to wear cheap cotton gloves inside your
vinyl or latex, and be very anal when taking them off. The most common
mistake is to touch your inside wrist with a sticky thumb. The inside wrist
is a gateway to being sensitized. The cotton absorbs sweat, allowing the
glove to slide off easy.
Around seven or eight I had been at the
finishing stage of my build and was applying
Zpoxy to grain fill the EIR used for the body of
this instrument. In fact you may even recall a
tutorial I posted back around that time showing
how I use syringes to insure an equal mixture
when measuring out the small quantity required
when using this product.
The doctor done his rounds telling me that the
swelling in my leg was so bad it had restricted
circulation to such an extent as to prevent the
antibiotics from getting in there to do there
work. He said it could be some time before they
do the job and I would need to just lay down
with my legs raised for a week or so and let it
happen. Rather than have me take up a much
needed hospital bed, the doctor sent me home on
the “Hospital In The Home” program (HITH). This
would see me at home with an IV shunt still in
the back of my hand, and a HITH nurse come visit
me each day to inject antibiotics into the shunt
until the infection was bought under control.
The itch remained, the Phenergan continued
supplemented by codeine forte required to manage
a pre-existing back problem which, among other
things, restricts my ability to lay down for
extended periods. The nurse continued to visit
each day with her big horse syringe and the rash
continued to grow. After a few days I was sure
the antibiotics where having no affect
whatsoever. In my drugged out wanderings I made
my way to the PC and Googled “Epoxy Allergies”
and I came across this site.
I went down to see my GP to see if he would
euthanate me putting me out of my misery, the
itch, the itch, the itch, the itch. My doctor
took a look at my leg and immediately had the
exact same response as every other medical
practitioner who had examined me up to this
point he said “Oh my gosh!” I showed him my pdf
files and he agreed it was contact dermatitis.
He told my I was fortunate because on that day,
right across the road from his surgery was a
doctor by the name of Mr Kurt Gebaur who is a
specialist in industrial dermatology, and just
by chance or divine intervention, Dr Kurt was
doing his 1 day stop monthly round of my home
town. My doctor made a call and I went across to
see Dr Kurt who looked at my legs and said “Oh
my gosh!” that is quite a pair of legs you have
under those symmetrical erthematous eruptions,
how long have you been like this? I told him
just over two weeks. He shook his head and said
you poor bastard. He ask “Itchy?” He then looked
up at my face and seen Rpokim standing there and
immediately apologised. I told him of my visit
to hospital and the antibiotics. He shook his
head and said nothing but did ask the name of
the doctor who had diagnosed cellulitis at the
As you can see this Prednisone is not overly
nice stuff but it is effective at what it does.
A demonstrate of how completely un-nice epoxy is
can be taken from the fact that after I stopped
taking the Prednisone, the itch and skin
condition came back however it was more
manageable. I did not want to take the roids
again because of the side affects already point
out, one of which is that you become a little
confused and I am not use to that, it does not
sit well with me and Rpokim comes to visit with
much less provocation than would normally be
required, and then there is the hassle in
shaking the roids off again which is an ordeal
in itself and according to wiki can even prove
fatal. I decided now the itch was manageable, I
would wait it out in milder discomfort until the
epoxy dissipates from my system, after what I
had been through in the previous 2 weeks before
the roids, I felt I could stand pretty much
anything……………………………….I waited………it got worse.
After a couple more weeks the rash was picking
up some real anger again, the itch was moving
toward high intensity, the skin began to peel
from the palm of my hands, between my fingers
and the soles of my feet, my legs began to blow
up and itch and I had to face the fact that this
thing aint done with me yet. I called my doctor,
he said jump back on the roids and come see me
in a few days and we’ll take a look, I said “Oh
From my experience this is how it is. Much of the same info.
I find the sanding dust from epoxy much less irritating itch-wise than from polyester. I prefer to use scrapers as much as possible, and sand by hand rather than machine as much as possible to reduce dust anyway. Itching from getting the dust on you isn't an allergic reaction.
Epoxy sensitivity (or allergy) affects some people and
appears to not affect others. I've been working with it for 15 years and
havent had any effects, but then I'm careful not to get it on me.
I have developed epoxy allergy, pretty bad. I have always
wore protection, but green epoxy dust got sucked under my Tyvek suit due to
arms motion when long-boarding amas. My upper torso got covered with red
rash and sores, which lasted a couple of months. I stopped building for a
couple of years.I am still building my F-82R (about half done), in winter,
since if I cannot sail, building is next best thing.Double layer protection
and a supplied air system.
As an engineer with a masters in designing boats I've spent
far too much time in workshops that used epoxy. For this reason I probably
take for granted the fact that people using the stuff are aware of the
sensitivity issue, which is why I've never thought to post a warning when
reading posts about using it. I suspect this is a much bigger problem than
most people would be aware of, one workshop I worked in had three people
from a staff of ten who had to leave for day when they were going to be
spraying epoxy, and this was just because of the fumes from the spray booth
a good 50m away. One of the guys there after years using it for a decade
without a problem suddenly developed a sensitivity. It started with a rash
then one day feeling that he hadn't been near the stuff for months, he
walked into the booth to help out, within 10 min had blacked out. He ended
up in hospital on a respirator for 6 weeks and sickness benefits for life
after that due to the damage to his lungs.
Inhaling the dusts and fumes associated with a long boat
building process should be vigorously avoided. Many/most fine dusts get
caught up in the lymphatic system around the lungs and stay around for a
long time causing problems like silicosis and cancers. Inhaled fumes
(evaporated solvents) cross into the bloodstream unhindered and from there
go to every organ of your body which can in turn cause liver and bladder
injuries and cancers among other things. Liver toxicity from inhaled
solvents is well known. The skin allergy to epoxy has been pretty well
described here. Fascinating accounts. It is a well known phenomenon in
allergy medicine that a person can have repeated exposures to an allergen
without triggering an immune response. Then one day, BANG, the immune system
suddenly and forever has a
My brother warned me off of epoxy. About 4 years ago he
wanted to build a kayak. It was stitched together with copper wire and then
covered with epoxy. He had been working on it diligently for a while and
then stopped dead, never to go back to it. He was working with epoxy and
some how smeared a bit on his forehead when he wiped his face with his arm.
As soon as he realized what happened, he went in and washed. You can still
tell where the epoxy was. The skin is red and scaly. It comes and goes,
stays red for days on end. He's lucky. He had no clue that he should be
wearing a respirator.
I'm heavily allergic to epoxy and it developed slowly over
time. At first it started out as a mild annoyance, but over time my symptoms
became more severe.
I think I am going to have to shut down my store for I have
been having a severe allergic reaction to the epoxy resin that I use. I have
had my eyelids burnt badly to the point they almost swell shut, split open,
and then ooze liquid from the eyelids. I wear protective goggles, I am
ventilated, and also wear a respirator. I have used the resin for a year now
and just recently have had severe reaction to the resin. I even now have
rash on my fingers that itches and resembles poison ivy but I know it is
from the resin. I have tried dg3 gel, 3d lacquer, and diamond glaze. I am
not happy with the outcome of any of these items. If anyone can suggest
another non toxic resin I can use can you please let me know?
The dust from carbon fiber work is extremely dangerous. When
inhaled, it impales itself to the workings of your lungs, preventing the
normal cleansing action, that phlegm and coughing it up would normally help
In general, the amines are causing most trouble. Try and
source an epoxy that is known to be more friendly to people, if you are
I thought I was being careful w/epoxy but in the end I
discovered I was not careful enough. I used nitrile gloves and wore reg
blue jeans and tennis (rubber) shoes. Occaisionally I would drip a spot
of epoxy on my jeans and did not notice so the glue hardened into the
jeans cloth. After working with it for a year I had to fair out my hull
and being in a hurry, I applied epoxy one day and sanded it down the
next w/o wearing a dust mask. I believe this is what done me in. My
whole body broke out in a severe red rash very similar to poison Ivy
rash. The itch was unbearable. I stayed away from epoxy for 2 weeks and
the rash went away. After that I was much more careful working with the
stuff. I wore a haz-mat suit along with my nitrile gloves but no
respirator. There are no fumes (zero) with West System epoxies. I waited
for the full 2 weeks cure time before sanding epoxy and wore no dust
mask. Fully cured epoxy is not toxic at all. I did not wear nitrile
gloves when sanding. If I got any sanding dust on my hands, I washed it
off w/soap & water witin 5 minutes. I have been working this way full
time for 4 additional years with no futher episodes of toxic exposure. I
have now completed my 50' sailing yacht and will be launching in approx
6 weeks. At the end of the day I would say do not fear epoxy; just
respect it and it will leave you work in peace.
What a utter nonsense!
1. Most people are not sensitive to epoxy.
1. Correct. The funny thing is that native African
people (Negroides) usually are far more sensitive than Kaukasian people.
We found that out in the epoxy flooring industry. It was hard to keep
Negroide people, for the effect on their skin. (and no, this is not an
attempt to discriminate)
For people that are not affected indeed it can be quite
astonishing. Allergic reactions can do strange things to people.
I've developed a sensitivity to epoxy. I think it may be the Glen-L epoxy. I never had this issue with MAS or West. But I may have just become sensitized over the last year between the kayak and the Malahini. The Glen-L stuff definitely has a different smell than the others did.
My eyes get very itchy and then my eyelids get kinda raw on the outside (probably from rubbing). Then of course the skin gets dry and scaly. I am basically finished but have a couple of little things to do. I'm going to get some goggles and keep wearing my respirator. Does anyone else have any issues like that?
its weird....i have only a very slight allergy to West System. If i use it several days in a row, even with long sleeves and gloves, i start to get hives on my arms. Mostly, casual use ever few days or so causes nothing.
As many of you know I have become VERY sensitive to epoxy. Causes a poison ivy type rash on my hands that itch like crazy, eye lids crack and bleed, eyes blood shot and get big red blotches on my face. And all of this is with ZERO physical contact - for me it is just the fumes. And it does seem to be cumulative. The more often the exposure the worse the symptoms. If I haven't used any for several months I can get away with a small amount of usage. But is trying to use it on successive days it can get nasty if I don't take precautions.
So here is do I do -
I had a conversation with my doctor and asked him to prescribe “Flonase”. This is a nasal spray that is approved to treat the nasal symptoms of indoor and outdoor allergies. It was suggested by another builder with a similar problem and does seem to help. I also always wear a respirator with filter cartridges organic fumes.
But for me the most effective measure is fresh air - LOTS of fresh air. I bought a big fan on a stand that blows like a hurricane. When ever I am using epoxy it have it blasting me and helping blow the fumes away. Also, I have a 3' exhaust fan in my shop and when I epoxy it runs 24/7 for at least a week after.
When I do epoxy work I setup and do the job but then immediately exit the shop when done and don't return until the next day.
I have also find that the dust from sanding epoxy causes me problems - even months later. Because of that I don't use a power sander with out a shop vac attached. For me the little built-in dust bags don't get it as they usually allow to much to escape.
These methods may be extreme for many but are necessary for me. Doing the things above I was able to cover the exterior of my True Grit with epoxy but it was a challenge.
Also, keep in mind at first I wasn't allergic to epoxy and took few precautions but now pay for lack of respect of the stuff.
Again here I would like to mention MAS epoxy with their "LOW TOX'" hardener. It works for me. I know two woodworkers other than myself who have become sensitized, and believe me , when the body decides to, ( sometimes with little warning,) the reaction can and probably will be severe enough to require hospitalization.
I have seen workers who have developed contact dermatitis from working with certain chemical solvents like MEK and other organic solvents/compounds. There is considerable research on the topic of contact dermatitis from exposure to epoxy resins. Please be very careful working around both resins and dust.
In the chem plant where I worked, I saw workers who developed spontaneous eruptions of oozing skin ulcers that lasted for weeks. The ulcers could appear anywhere, not just where contact had once occurred. Once the chemical sensitivity happened, these workers could no longer perform their jobs ---- and couldn't even remain in the building where the chemicals were used. Just exposure to the fumes (no contact) was enough to initiate production of skin ulcers. Very nasty.
Dermatitis is a diagnosis that covers a wide range of symptoms and just means "inflamation of the skin." But the inflamation can take many forms, including red, itchy, patchy areas, flaking, blisters, ulcers (very nasty looking), etc. Because these symptoms are visible to others, they evoke a subconcious "avoid and do not approach or touch" response. Do not dismiss the threat lightly. I have seen people who live a degraded quality of life because their skin is constantly going "crazy" on them. Usually, an episode of dermatitis will heal over a period of days, especially when helped by treatment with topical steroids like betamethosone. But I have also known people whose dermatitis never goes away.
Please take care when working with these compounds. Do not assume that because you have worked with it for years that you will never develop a chemical sensitivity to it, and resultant expression of the allergic reaction as some form of dermatitis. For most of us, there is a threshold limit for total lifetime exposure that once breached can result in a lifetime of nastiness, as many of these compounds are present in everyday materials that offgas to some extent. Like herpes, once you've got it, you've got it for life.
Whenever I work with organic solvents/compounds where more than a few
minutes of exposure to fumes or dust, or contact with the chemicals themselves is
likely to occur, I use as appropriate a full face HEPA/carbon filter, full
body tyvek overalls, and chemical resistant gloves. Having occasional
episodes of dermatitis myself these days, I am VERY careful.
Epoxy IS dangerous and anyone that tells you otherwise
The old "I've used it for years and it never hurt me" is a cliche for a reason. I've heard it so many times over the years, from issues regarding PCB's (from a friend whose face and arms were covered with melanoma removal scars--one of which eventually killed him), to owner-operator truckers driving 12-hr shifts--until they wrecked their rigs and became uninsurable, to non-union carpenters swinging "illegally" large hammers--then "retiring" at 35 or 40 due to debilitating arthritis. I worked a few years for a defense contractor who used a lot of epoxy for potting circuitry. The firm was known for hiring minorities--and not looking too closely at their papers. Less known was that they also routinely laid them off when they became sensitized to epoxy. I called a boss on it, who had the chutzpah to say, "Hey, they'll never work with epoxy after they go home, so will never have symptoms."
Epoxy is very dangerous--as is its dust (due to un-catalyzed bits of both resin and hardener encapsulated in the matrix, on amateur mixes). It is (almost) always over-kill for an amateur-built boat, which was Derek's primary point, after all. The idea of building a plywood boat--to save on materials cost--and then covering it in expensive epoxy is an oxy-moron of the highest order when you think about it (though I've built half a dozen myself!) You'd have been so much better off building in glass/foam, by most any metric available--engineered strength, weight, cost, labor, safety--and resale value. Designing your entire work product--and all the decades-long downstream ramifications of that choice, based on a few hours--even a few tens of hours--of objectionable odors seems distinctly like mis-placed priorities to me--but that's only my opinion.
If smell is an issue for you there are multiple solutions--from moving your shop to the hinterlands, to working solely with infusion (cool skill to add to your toolbox!), to building a paint booth-like filter system--to using epoxy. Life is a series of compromises and choices; this isn't a black and white issue.
As far as I am aware cancer is not the problem – it is skin allergies
Some are un affected, some like me are partially affected and others are massively affected
You can’t predict… I have seem colleagues totally unaffected then start with an itch then end up with crusting open sores from exposure
It would seem fast set hardeners are more allergenic than slow – and as many of you guys work in warm climates, I guess you use slow hardeners, here in damp cold UK… fast is common.
Just reads the safety info on the labels – it makes sense to be
I would like to provide my own experience over the last
20 years, in case it
Once you have epoxy on your gloves, you WILL have an itch on your nose, your eyes WILL need to be rubbed, and you WILL begin to sweat and need to wipe your brow.
More about safety and epoxy