Working with epoxy is not difficult, but we understand you may have questions if you haven't worked with epoxy often or before. Common questions we see come through in customer service are: "How do I work with epoxy safely?", "Should you wear a face mask or not while working with epoxy?", "Can I be allergic to epoxy? "and "Is epoxy harmful to my health?" In this article, through the most frequently asked questions, you will read all about working safely with epoxy. For more information, please contact our specialists.
Let's start with a question that many people already know the answer to: "What is epoxy?" Epoxy is a liquid material from the polymer family. Epoxy from RESION consists of two components:
A. a liquid base component (resin).
B. a liquid hardener.
After mixing the two components, a chemical reaction will cure the material into a hard, plastic-like, material. Epoxy is easy and safe to process, even for the do-it-yourselfer. What is important here is that the mixing ratio is maintained accurately, that both components are mixed well together and that proper personal protective equipment is used. Are you working with epoxy resin for the first time or want to know more about epoxy? Then check out our page Epoxy for beginners.
Epoxy consists of a base (BADGE or diglycidyl ether of bisphenol-A) and an amine or amide hardener. Both components contain several excipients to allow easy processing.
The label on the epoxy product packages includes various hazard pictograms along with the meaning of them, a description of the hazards (H phrases) and precautions to be taken (P phrases). This information is also included in the safety instructions of the products. Also, we display this information on the "Label" tab on the product pages (available soon).
The meaning of these pictograms is as follows:
The above pictograms can be found on the packaging of epoxy. Note, however, that these pictograms apply to the liquids as contained in the containers and not to the cured product. If processed in the proper mixing ratio, epoxy will cure into an inert material that has no adverse effects on the environment.
There are also epoxy resins and hardeners that carry the following pictograms:
Epoxy cures through a chemical reaction. This reaction forms a chain reaction in which heat is released. This is called an ''exothermic polyaddition reaction.'' The 2 components react with each other to form a polymer, the cured epoxy plastic.
We frequently receive questions about the fumes that may be released during the curing of epoxy. Both components of epoxy, even if in very small amounts, contain some volatile compounds. During use and the curing process, some of these are released. Avoid prolonged exposure without protection and work in a well-ventilated area. This will allow you to work safely with epoxy.
The use of a vapour mask is not mandatory but is recommended in some cases. In the case of long-term exposure, a vapour mask is a "must. Also, if you work in an area that is not well ventilated, a vapour mask is strongly recommended (see question 8 for appropriate personal protective equipment). When working with epoxy briefly in a well-ventilated area, a vapour mask is not necessary.
As described in the previous question, some volatile compounds are released (in very small quantity) during the curing process. If you want to avoid inhaling these, we recommend purchasing a vapour mask.
Yes, epoxy can cause an allergic reaction. In practice, a small number of people are found to be hypersensitive or allergic to epoxy. This may be one particular type of product or generally apply to almost all epoxy products. This hypersensitivity manifests as skin irritations (redness, rash, swelling), respiratory tract irritations (coughing fits) or headaches. In such cases, stop exposure immediately and seek the outdoors. A doctor's visit may provide definitive information about the cause of the allergy.
Working with epoxy requires some personal protective equipment. Always be sure to use (nitrile) gloves and work in clothing that covers the skin well. In addition, always work in an area that can be well ventilated and prevent the epoxy from coming into direct contact with the skin.
For prolonged exposure to epoxy, a vapour mask and protective work clothing are required.
Do you work briefly in a well-ventilated area? If so, a vapour mask is optional. Do you work briefly in a poorly ventilated area? Then a mask is recommended!
If you want to be on the safe side, it is wise to purchase a fume mask (see question 9) and use it while working with epoxy.
In the table below you will find the recommended personal protective equipment based on the duration of work with epoxy:
|Personal protective equipment
|Short work session
|Long work session
|Half face mask of full face mask
We have included a number of suitable masks in our range that are suitable for use when working with epoxy. Below we briefly explain.
3M 6000 Half Face Mask (recommended):
This 3M half mask fits snugly to the face and features a centrally located exhalation valve. The exhaust valve simplifies exhalation and prevents fatigue, which ensures that the mask is very comfortable to wear, without being bothered by fumes.
A 3M half mask stands for quality and comfort. The mask's exhalation valve provides greater durability and is also easy to keep clean. In addition, the mask is soft and very lightweight. For the vapour mask, you need two A2 filters that are easily mounted on each side of the mask.
3M 4251 Half-Face Mask:
This ready-to-use half mask is lightweight and provides excellent protection while working with epoxy.
The lightweight, balanced design features a centrally located exhalation valve that helps reduce heat and moisture buildup, keeping you breathing comfortably in hot and humid conditions.
The integrated filters are maintenance-free; simply use them until the replacement schedule indicates they need to be replaced or until the filters are full. The ready-to-use half-face mask can be used for about a month, after which you will need to replace the mask completely (i.e., this mask does not have replaceable filters).
When using appropriate personal protective equipment (protective clothing, saftey glasses, gloves, face mask), the risks of respiratory and skin irritation are minimized. Therefore, purchase the appropriate protective equipment and so that you work safely with epoxy.
The epoxy products purchased by Polyestershoppen are among the most human & environmentally friendly in the industry. They are solvent-free in all cases. The volatile organic compound (VOC) content is very low to zero. We do not supply toxic, GHS06 marked products. Nor do we supply epoxy resins that should be labeled GHS08 (long-term health hazard).
Our epoxy suppliers are reputable European manufacturers who are ISO 9001 certified. They work with high-quality production equipment in modern production sites. The product range of our suppliers is the result of a careful selection in terms of people & environment, quality and sustainability. From these, Polyestershoppen selects the most product-suitable and people-friendly systems whose technical properties and suitability per application and substrate have been tested and approved. If necessary, we modify the epoxy resins to make them suitable for specific applications.
Personal protective equipment can be found at Polyestershoppen in the category: Personal protection. We hope all your questions about working with epoxy have been answered. Should you want even more information, you can take a look at our information centre. Here we provide you with all the expert knowledge you need to work with epoxy. Of course, you can also contact us at any time. Our team of specialists will be happy to help you. So you can safely get started with epoxy.
Do you have a specific question? Call one of our specialists for free advice +3185 0220090