Epoxy resin is gaining popularity among artists and hobbyists as it is being used to create beautiful geode resin art, resin tables, tumblers, resin countertops, coasters, cutting board art and more.
But as more and more people jump on the epoxy resin bandwagon, many are discovering that they are having what seems to be an allergic reaction to epoxy resin, especially when the proper safety precautions are not being taken.
Be sure to watch (and like and subscribe) to our YouTube below where we talk about epoxy resin safety and then show the difference between mica, alcohol ink and acrylic paint as epoxy resin colorants:
Let's talk about epoxy allergies: what are resin allergies and why people are developing them as well as adverse effects to epoxy resin?
An epoxy resin allergy may appear in the following forms:
Many people develop a "resin allergy" or an "epoxy allergy" through over-exposure to resin over time. This is especially true if you are not wearing the proper safety gear or personal protective equipment (PPE).
We always recommend that anyone working with epoxy resin wear the proper gloves (latex won't cut it here folks) and a respirator with organic vapor filters.
Because there are so many epoxy resin brands out there, you will have to do a little research into the brand of epoxy resin you decide to use and just make sure you are prepared with the proper safeties in place.
Keep in mind, there are different epoxy resins that are used for different things. Epoxy resin has been a component in electronics, wind turbines, as an adhesive in tools, paints and for marine applications, among many other things. So if you are wanting to use an epoxy resin for art, you may want to consider a non-toxic resin.
Many epoxy resins that are made for artistic use often claim to be non-toxic, which is often defined as containing no VOCs or fumes, is non-hazardous and non-flammable.
Just because a product claims to be non-toxic, does not mean that you can go ahead and shower with it. There are still chemicals involved, and when you mix your epoxy resin with the hardener, there is a chemical reaction that happens. You need to protect yourself with personal protective equipment, tools, and knowledge no matter which brand of epoxy resin you decide to go with.
Non-toxic resin definitions vary by brand so be sure to look into whichever brand of non-toxic resin you are using to learn about what 'non-toxic' means to them.
There are many things to consider when looking into a non-toxic epoxy resin. First of all, please know that you can still have reactions when using a non-toxic resin and even if the epoxy resin brand itself says no respirator required, we still highly recommend using one just to limit your epoxy resin exposure and therefore your risk of developing a reaction down the road.
Plus, if you buy a respirator that is an N95 or N95 equivalent, you can throw it on when painting, working with alcohol inks, soapmaking, cleaning or doing any concrete art or mixing.
We recommend this mask for epoxy resin exposure, paint fumes, alcohol ink exposure and it is useful for many other chemicals and gasses.
The most important thing to know about resin is there is a risk of resin sensitization.
What is epoxy resin sensitization? When talking about chemical allergic reactions, resin sensitization is what happens when you have exposure to a product or chemical that over time, can induce an allergic reaction. This epoxy allergy can develop immediately, or over a period of time after use. This allergic reaction typically develops on the areas of highest exposure, such as arms, hands, and fingers in the form of dermatitis, but other allergic reactions can occur as well.
Does that mean that you will be fine because you didn't react the previous times using epoxy resin after making skin contact?
No, it does not mean that. It means that if you continue to use epoxy resins or any epoxy resin haphazardly and exposing it to your body without the proper PPE, you could be at risk for sensitization and develop an allergy over prolonged resin use.
Some people may never experience any epoxy resin reaction, even after years of use. Some develop it right away. We are all different.
The answer is no, so long as you understand the risks, read the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), Safety Data Sheet (SDS), and Product Safety Data Sheet (PSDS) for the particular resin brand you decide to work with.
Then, you can protect yourself by wearing the proper safety gear and personal protective equipment (PPE) such as nitrile or vinyl gloves, and a proper mask to avoid resin allergies from both uncured epoxy resin and curing epoxy resin.
These masks have many uses and can be worn for many uses other than epoxy resin, including chemical exposures and general household products that could be potential sources for causing an allergy or a reaction. To avoid exposure, wear the proper protective equipment before contact occurs on skin or in the respiratory tract.
Well, we hope you found some useful information about epoxy resin and resin reactions and resin safety in this article. Be sure to hop over to our resin safety article to learn about the proper safety gear you should consider using when working with resin.
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Have a safe, productive day!
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