An epoxy is a polymer that contains polyepoxide units. It is an adhesive that is used to bond other materials such as metals or plastics. Because of the strong bonding properties of epoxy resins, there is some danger associated with using them. There are many different kinds of epoxy resins, and knowing the associated risks is important to safe use.
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When using an epoxy, you should wear proper safety equipment to protect yourself. Wear safety glasses or goggles to protect your eyes, and dust masks or vapour respirators to mitigate the effects of fumes that can be inhaled. Wear latex, nitrile, neoprene rubber or leather gloves when mixing the resin with a hardener. For extra safety, wear plastic or paper coveralls to protect your skin and clothes.
Epoxy that is curing is quite hot. If left in a plastic container, it can cause the container to melt and can burn your skin. It can also cause small materials like sawdust to ignite. Spraying epoxies can be very dangerous if the spray is not controlled. The epoxy can settle on skin and cause burns.
Health risks associated with epoxy resins include inhalation of vapours when mixing the epoxy. If you are working in a poorly ventilated area, you will be exposed to fumes. There is also a low risk of developing a rash if your skin comes into direct contact with the resin. However, this tends to happen only after prolonged exposure.
As strong bonding agents, epoxy resins can be used around the home to repair things like chairs, table legs and picture frames. When not using them, store epoxies in a secure location away from children and pets. Epoxy should be kept in an airtight container at room temperature to keep it from hardening.
If an epoxy comes into contact with your skin, it is important to remove it as fast as possible. Use a waterless hand cleaner, or wash with soap and water. Do not use ketone or chlorine-based solvents to remove epoxy resin from your skin. If a rash develops, do not bandage it. Stop working with the resin and contact a physician.
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