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Epoxy Resins and Hardeners: Safety Precautions

  • Reactivity of epoxy resins 

For polymerization reaction to occur, Part A and Part B should connect with each other; in other words, liquid parts have to be reactive. This allows the magic of chemistry to occur when two liquids of different nature build bonds with each other and form a solid matter. Materials like Part A and Part B of epoxy resins have to be used with caution because of their reactivity. 

    • Skin sensitization and damage to eyes

Epoxies should be used with caution because they can cause eye damage, skin irritation or skin sensitization. Accidental splashes could result in epoxy resin or hardener droplets getting into your eyes or on your skin. Always wear PPE (personal protective equipment) such as protective glasses and chemical-resistant gloves. Epoxy resins and hardeners are not nearly as bad as other common polymers (i.e. polyurethanes, where the major component is an isocyanate which should be used only by professionals who understand the risks due to significant health hazards posed by the chemistry used), but ensure all the necessary preparations are done before your project starts.

    • Exothermic reaction
When Part A and Part B epoxy are mixed, a reaction of polymerization occurs. This reaction is exothermic; in other words, the heat is released into the epoxy and its surroundings. Epoxy resins differ in the speed of the reaction. For example, if coating resin will be used as casting resin, i.e., 15 liter pour to build 1" thick casting; it will heat up, yellow, smoke and crack, while casting resin will cure just fine.

Always plan your project ahead and take time to do some tests with the epoxy before use. 

    • VOC content
    VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compounds, a large group of chemicals that manufacturers use to provide their products with certain characteristics required for best performance or to make the final product cheaper. When it comes to epoxy resins, VOC could mean solvents that promote flow and wetting characteristics to coating resins or compounds added to reduce viscosity to support air release. VOC compounds could also be used for properties stabilization and preservation purposes. However, products containing high concentrations of VOCs are prone to gas emissions. These emissions may persist even after a product has solidified, meaning that it is required to take all prescribed precautions not only while working with products containing high concentration of VOCs, but also up to several week after the solidification of the product used.
    All of our products have zero or low VOC content.
    Product VOC content
    Casting Epoxy 0%
    Coating Epoxy <0.1%
    Liquid Colourants <1%
    • Epoxy dust
      • Protect your respiratory organs with a mask or respirator to limit your exposure to epoxy dust. Since the sanding stage is often done before 100% completion of the chemical reaction, the dust may contain a certain amount of unreacted materials. It is essential to avoid the entrance of these dust particles into your body.
    • Respiratory irritation

    Our resins have zero to low volatile organic compounds content; in addition to this, the vapour pressure of our epoxy is minimal to ensure that you are not exposed to any fumes or vapours of the epoxy. However, we do recommend working in well-ventilated areas as a good workplace practice when dealing with chemical produts. 

    • Ingestion

    ALWAYS wash your hands thoroughly after working with epoxy resins. If you accidentally swallow epoxy, drink lots of water but DO NOT induce vomiting. Epoxy hardener causes skin burns, vomiting might cause additional damage to digestive tract.  

    • Working area
      • Maintain a clean working area to avoid incidental contact with the epoxy resin or hardener. Check your gloves for epoxy residues before touching light switches, door handles, or epoxy containers.
      • Never store food or eat in the places where you work with the resin.
      • Resin spillages can be cleaned with acetone, lacquer thinner or alcohols such as isopropyl or denatured alcohol.   
      • Hardener spillages can be cleaned with isopropyl or denatured alcohol or with warm soapy water. 
    • Disposal of the unused epoxy resin and hardener
    Do not dispose of epoxy part A and part B as of liquids. Mix small quantities of unused resin and hardener and let the mixture solidify. Let the solidified mass cool down. Do not mix large quantities as it can cause overheating. Cured solid is not recyclable. Follow federal and local disposal regulations.