Hazards of Inhaling Epoxy fumes
Epoxy isn’t just a normal type of glue. It’s a very tough kind of glue normally used in linking adhesives, in paints and coatings, in constructing cars and airplanes, in repairing woods, in arts, and in a tone of other industrial use cases.
While epoxy has a tone of useful applications, there are health hazards of inhaling epoxy fumes that you should be aware of.
While cured epoxy isn’t that dangerous to us, sanding cured epoxy (which is in the form of dust) normally poses great health risks since it’s inhalable.
You may ask: Is the smell of epoxy dangerous? Can epoxy fumes kill or make you sick? Is inhaling epoxy fumes while pregnant dangerous? Let’s dive into it.
Epoxy side effects
Research by The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that upon exposure to unhardened epoxy compounds, 15 out of the 113 tested patients experienced asthma reactions caused by epoxy resins.
Even though unhardened epoxy resins are very low in the air, the study found that epoxy resins cause asthma only in their liquid form and not in their hardened plastic form.
When in liquid form, epoxy compounds can evaporate (when ventilation is poor and temperature high) and become epoxy fumes.
What happens after inhaling epoxy fumes?
Breathing epoxy fumes has effects on the nose, throat and lungs. Well, the symptoms?
One may experience inflammation and irritation of the nose, lungs and throat. Continuous and increased exposure to epoxy fumes could lead to sensitization and even asthma.
When epoxy dusts that aren’t fully cured are inhaled, they get trapped along the mucus lining in our respiratory systems. This dust is dangerous and according to West System, a company in the business of making epoxy, inhaling this dust could cause you serious health problems.
How to protect yourself from Epoxy fumes
One effective way to protect yourself from epoxy fumes is investing in a ventilation system such as a portable fume extractor. These systems are designed to trap the hazardous epoxy fumes and hence make it safe for anyone using epoxy.
While these systems are effective for epoxy fumes, hazards from VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) such as perfumes may require you come up with a VOC fume extraction strategy such as using quality carbon filters.