Let’s dive into this topic with you as it’s a question we get asked all the time at Craft Resin - Should you wear a respirator when working with our brands Epoxy Resin?
The short answer is:
Craft Resin has been evaluated as non-hazardous material and is non-toxic when used as directed, however we will always recommend our product users are over cautious with their health. If you follow the below guidance you will be able to use Craft Resin safe in the knowledge that you will be protected.
Work in a well ventilated area. If you can't work in a well ventilated area due to temperature issues, or you simply can't tell if your work area is well ventilated, please wear a respirator.
If you’re asking this question then you are probably concerned for your health, and that alone is a great reason to be over cautious and protect yourself as much as possible.
The longer answer is:
It is very difficult for us to evaluate if your workspace/home is ventilated enough to enable you to work respirator free. Unless you are working outside, or in a special workshop that has been evaluated by a safety company to have the correct ventilation, then we will always presume that it isn’t well ventilated. Ventilation isn’t just opening a window, the air needs to be circulating and filtering outside, even with a window open, depending on the size, location, wind direction etc this might not be good enough.
Add to that, it is very hard to control the temperature in some locations when windows/doors are opened, and this can then cause issues to occur in your resin projects themselves.
A respirator can be uncomfortable at times, in warmer temperatures it might not be the most pleasant to work in, but your safety is more important than anything else, and taking this extra step might be the best option for you.
Wearing a respirator is completely a personal choice, no one who uses our epoxy resin must under the safety inspection certificate wear a respirator, however we will always recommend to people to do so.
Let us explain why in more depth:
Craft Resin's epoxy resin is formulated using the highest quality materials and therefore produces no VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) nor does it give off any harmful fumes.
There are no solvents or non-reactive diluents in the formulations, which means that everything in the formulation reacts together with each other, because of this reaction nothing is loose or free to become airborne and cause health issues.
Resin that is advertised as non toxic and/or VOC free does not contain any elements that are deemed as toxic as per all the safety guidelines. Craft Resin is rigorously tested by an external company who are impartial. It is the VOC's, or volatile organic compounds that make a resin toxic, and if it doesn't contain any VOCs to begin with, mixing A and B together cannot make it toxic. This also is not affected by heat as it is VOC free, so it doesn’t give off toxic chemicals when cool, warmed up in a warm sink or when a heat gun is used.
The reason we recommend using a mask/respirator is because Craft Resin produces a low odour, it is important to note that what customers are smelling are not fumes.
VOC's are found in everyday life, it is the elements that make markers smell, nail varnishes, or give plastics the "new" smell (and even the scent to the perfume or aftershave we wear). Resin's that contain VOC's are classed as toxic because the heat given off during the curing process lowers the boiling point of the VOC's causing them to give off toxic fumes and vapours. Resins that contain VOC's generally have a strong odour or smell to them.
A resin that's advertised as non toxic, or VOC free, doesn't contain the VOC's, which means the heat made during the curing process has nothing to work on and therefore cannot give off the toxic fumes and vapours as they're not present. Non toxic resins won't have a strong odour or smell because the compound isn't there to make it smell. Craft Resin has a slight smell which is much less than other resins that do contain VOCs.
Toxicity and sensitisation are two completely different things and mean different things, which can be where some confusion lies. Something deemed as toxic will have an immediate effect on the organ when eaten, drunk or breathed in. Levels of toxicity will vary as will the response, but something being toxic is the effect it causes to the localised body part. Sensitisation is a process that involves the immune response and is therefore an allergic reaction. A toxic response is not an allergic reaction.
As with lots of things in life, resin contains natural and man-made elements, which affect us all differently depending on our immune system. For example, some people are allergic to peanuts but that doesn’t mean that peanuts are toxic. It is possible for someone to become sensitive to the resin and develop an allergic response, but that doesn't make it toxic. Sensitisation is your body responding to a stimulus.
Toxic effects and allergic responses are generally different symptoms, but sometimes can present in a similar way - for example an anaphylactic response is similar to a respiratory irritant.
If you do have any reactions or abnormal symptoms when using Craft Resin always consult your GP/Doctor also soon as possible.
Also always wear personal protective equipment as a barrier to stop any irritation from happening in the first place.
With regards to what respirator to buy, we cannot advise you on this. Suppliers of safety equipment will be able to advise on the best respirator to use, they may need to see our Safety Data Sheet in order to check which would be the correct one for you.
As always this guidance aligns with our brands epoxy resin, other brands can be formulated differently and therefore we cannot advise what their safety precautions are, please speak to them directly if you are using another resin brand.
If you have any questions regarding safety, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Team Craft Resin