A Guide to Epoxy Resin Safety
February 12, 2020
What is Epoxy Resin?
Epoxy resin is a polyepoxide that is composed of prepolymers and polymers that consist of epoxide groups. In order for epoxy resin to cure, it must be combined with a catalyst, which is typically a hardener. When the resin and hardener are mixed, an exothermic reaction takes place that creates a strong adhesive and resistant finish. This is what makes epoxy a common application for home improvement projects, construction, craft making, and boat repair.
At AeroMarine, our epoxy resin products are best-in-class. They’re easy to use to help get your job done, all while having great flexural strength that creates a durable finish. There are many uses for epoxy resin, which may be the reason you’re seeking safety advice when using epoxy.
Some common applications include:
- Flooring: Epoxy can create a smooth, durable, and waterproof finish to floors, perfect for basements and garages.
- Boat Repair: Marine grade epoxy can be used to patch up boats and even build stitch-and-glue boats.
- Wood Repair: If you have a broken railing, rotting beam, or chipped furniture, epoxy can be applied to bring it up to snuff and back to its original form.
- Countertops: Epoxy is extremely resistant to spills and durable, which makes it a perfect application for countertops.
- Walkways: If you have a pebble walkway leading to your front door or throughout your yard, pebble epoxy will keep your stones in place, so they don’t end up in your yard. Please contact us for more information on this process.
- Wood furniture: You can make gorgeous wood tables, desks and chairs using epoxy resin.
Epoxy resin is a popular choice for home improvement projects and construction, thanks to its extreme durability, versatility, and ease of use. Epoxy resin is an excellent choice, whether you’re considering epoxy flooring for your basement or looking to create your own wood furniture. However, as with most chemical substances, you should be aware of proper safety precautions.
Many epoxy users may be asking themselves, “is resin toxic?” Short answer—no. However, there are a few considerations you need to make when handling this product. Below, we’ll go over how to use epoxy resin safely, so you can complete any project with peace of mind.
Use the provided links below to navigate to a section of your choosing, or read through for a full understanding of epoxy resin safety.
Is Epoxy Resin Toxic?
Now that you know what epoxy resin is and what its various uses are, you may be asking yourself, “is epoxy toxic?” Epoxy resin is generally non-toxic and poses minimal threats if accidentally ingested, touched, or inhaled.
However, as with all epoxy resins, you should take basic safety precautions when working with epoxy resin.
Cured vs. Uncured vs. Dust
Epoxy resin comes in three forms: cured, uncured, and dust. When looking at the question, “Is resin toxic?” it’s important to know each of these three stages:
- Cured: When epoxy resin cures, it is non-toxic. The cured stage of epoxy is the final stage where it is completely solid and hardened. In its final form, epoxy is safe to touch, walk on, and place items on.
- Uncured: The uncured stage of epoxy is when it’s in its liquid form. When you mix epoxy resin with a hardener, an exothermic reaction occurs. You should take the proper safety precautions, which we cover below.
- Dust: If you need to sand epoxy to create a smooth surface, dust will fly up into the air and eventually settle. Please wear a barrier mask or respirator and eye protection when sanding epoxy.
Part A vs. Part B Component Safety
Epoxy comes in a two-part system, typically Part A and Part B. Part A, the resin, combines with Part B, the hardener. The hardener is what makes the resin react and form a tough and durable bond. Both parts are non-toxic.
How Can I Work Safely With Epoxy Products?
Following these safety measures, along with resin best practices, will ensure your epoxy project goes smoothly:
- Increase Ventilation: Make sure you’re working in a well-ventilated area when working with epoxy resin. If you’re applying epoxy resin to your garage or basement floors, keep the garage door, hatchway, and any windows open. It’s also worth placing a few fans in the area to increase air circulation.
- Use Personal Protective Equipment: To prevent skin and eye irritation, purchase personal protective equipment to stay covered. This includes nitrile gloves, safety goggles, a long-sleeved shirt and pants, and a respirator or barrier mask when sanding epoxy.
- Personal Hygiene: Once you’re finished with your epoxy project, make sure to remove all contaminated clothing and wash your hands and skin with soap and water or a commercial hand cleaner. You wouldn’t want to eat a sandwich or rub your eyes with hands that contain epoxy residue. Also, make sure to pay attention to your fingernails and nail beds, as epoxy can hide here easily. When you’re done washing, apply moisturizer or cream to prevent cracking and drying.
How Do I Dispose of Epoxy?
It’s crucial you properly dispose of your epoxy when you’re finished with your project to protect both you and the environment. Epoxy resin is toxic to marine life and ecosystems, so if it is disposed of in sewers, drains, or your household rubbish, these habitats and creatures can die off. Bottom line, do not throw away epoxy in your trash or pour it down a drain.
Instead, dispose of your liquid or uncured epoxy at your local waste facility. Here, they will make sure your epoxy is disposed of properly without harming the environment and organisms.
You can also cure out liquid epoxy by mixing resin and hardener together and letting it cure for at least 24 hours until it is completely hard to the touch. Then, you can safely dispose the cured, inert epoxy in your household trash.
Key Takeaways on Staying Safe With Epoxy Resin
Epoxy resin is a great substance that can be used for a variety of purposes, such as furniture making, flooring, and boat repair. Is epoxy safe to use for the average person?
With the right safety measures, you can ensure you and those around you are safe when using epoxy. From working in a well-ventilated area to using the proper personal protective equipment, you can rest assured that your epoxy project will go as planned.