Modern, solvent-free epoxy resin has various uses ranging from small, handmade crafts to large industrial flooring solutions. Regardless of the project at hand, epoxy should be handled with care as it is possible to become sensitized to the substance.
Allergic reactions to epoxy usually result in skin problems, similar to those caused by contact dermatitis. Often washing hands is enough to reduce symptoms, but they can show up if you come in contact with epoxy again. To avoid potential distress, it’s always best to take proper safety precautions beforehand.
The components used to make epoxy can differ depending on the manufacturer’s discretion and its intended use. No matter which brand you use, this general guide for occasional amateur epoxy handlers should decrease the likelihood of sensitization.
1. Wear gloves
Wearing proper protective equipment when handling epoxy is crucial, but gloves are your first line of defense. Not only can epoxy damage your skin, but it’s also extremely sticky in its liquid form.
We recommend using nitrile gloves as they are more durable than latex and have fewer allergenic compounds. Latex gloves can sometimes react with resins and deter the curing process.
2. Ensure Good Ventilation
If inhaled in large amounts, epoxy fumes can irritate your lungs, causing breathing problems and watery eyes. Keep the surrounding area adequately ventilated to avoid an accumulation of vapors. Keep a few windows open to allow cross-ventilation.
If you can’t open windows, the next best alternative is a ceiling or exhaust fan that draws air away from you to the top of the room. If you have any other portable fans in the house, such as desktop fans, keep them in the room to prevent a concentration of fumes.
3. Wear safety goggles
When working with epoxy, there is a genuine possibility of resin splashing into your eyes, which is why it’s essential to wear safety goggles. Protective goggles can prevent eye injury caused by contact with dust, debris, chemicals, or liquid when working in potentially hazardous environments.
Pair this with a face mask or use a face shield for full coverage. For larger projects where you expect prolonged exposure, opt for a NIOSH approved respirator instead of a face mask.
4. Cover Yourself
If you’ve taken up the task of laying down metallic epoxy flooring yourself, you’ll need to cover up any exposed skin completely.
When applying epoxy, you should:
- Wear a long-sleeved top and trousers that cover your legs fully.
- Wear socks and gloves and tape any openings at the joints.
- Be careful not to bring dirty hands near your face, especially when removing safety goggles.
- Wash any epoxy splashes with warm, soapy water immediately.
- Never use solvents.
When sanding, along with the previous precautions, you should also:
- Wear coveralls over the long-sleeved shirt and trousers.
- Cover your mouth and nasal area with a dust mask.
- Wrap a hood or scarf around your head.
- Wash exposed clothing separately when done.
- Take a shower to remove dust particles from hair and skin immediately.
These preventative measures should help you use epoxy safely; however, it’s still recommended that you keep epoxy use to a minimum. Studies show that less handling and less exposure lowers the risk of sensitization and subsequent allergic reactions.
For the best results, you should hire a metallic epoxy flooring expert.
A professional will have all the required personal protective equipment on hand and can give you long-lasting results.
The experts at CSS Coatings have vast experience installing high-tech flooring solutions in Ohio. The company offers a range of epoxy options, including thin mil coatings, concrete finishes and metallic epoxy flooring. For more information, you can reach out online or call 270-793-9069