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gofish
02-01-2010, 10:55 PM
I understand the answer to my question is to avoid epoxying one's self in the first place. However:

What is the safest method to remove wet epoxy from skin. I recently discovered the advantage of white vinegar (in lieu of denatured alcohol) for clean-up. I was under the impression this was a safe way to wash your hands of any epoxy.

My concern is trans-dermal exposure and a possible resulting reaction.

Thanks

Ian McColgin
02-01-2010, 11:03 PM
I just use hot water and soap, but my days of all but swimming in the stuff are forty years in my past. Disposable gloves are cheap. Get used to putting them on as fast as any deli worker or TV criminologist does.

fair&fair
02-01-2010, 11:10 PM
Having built boats out of epoxy for some time now, and being mindful of the toxicity of the stuff, I will say that even being very careful, one will always get some on the skin from time to time. I always wash with soap and water, though vinegar, if effective, sounds like it would probably be safe. Solvents are not safe at all to use, they will just carry the chemicals straight to your liver, but will leave your skin nice and clean. The orange stuff with the pumice in it is really effective at removing epoxy.

AstoriaDave
02-01-2010, 11:12 PM
gofish,

Alcohol and acetone are more likely to assist epoxy across the skin than vinegar. The extent to which this occurs is open to debate, but in any case contact with the skin is to be avoided. There is no way to know if you are susceptible to sensitization.

Like Ian, I have exposed my skin to epoxy numerous times, in the bad old days. Nowadays, despite no sign of sensitization, I wear gloves every time I work with it, and a vapor cartridge half-face respirator filter when I do large spreads, such as during glass wet-out. Sensitization to the vapor is possible, but unlikely.

Lungs are hard to replace.

Pacific Woody
02-02-2010, 12:29 AM
I keep a stock of latex gloves on hand (no pun intended). That orange cleanser works well. My Dad always recommended a table spoon of butter topped off with a table spoon of granular sugar.......it's what I use when the orange stuff runs out......although I usually buy the stuff by the gallon with a pump for easy dispensing and keep it at the sink.

Acetone......eek, I want to keep both my ears (unlike Vincent). Or was that syphilis?

Edit: And I NEVER sand epoxy until an absolute minimum of 24 hours.....usually 48. Not-fully-cured epoxy dust is extremely toxic but once it cures it's "a little better for you".

RodB
02-02-2010, 12:34 AM
For cleaning your hands, Orange cleaner is fine and works great and I follow it with dishwashing soap. Just be sure you get the right Orange cleaner with plenty of abrasive particles in it... some brands do not have enough in my opinion.

I recommend using the barrier cream from System Three. Its easy to apply to your hands and washes off easily when your done. I much prefer it to gloves unless I am doing some serious epoxy handling and need gloves.

You just squeeze a large dollop on your hands...and rub away covering your hands, fingers and back of hands and wrists... It dries and you forget its there. It works very well and washes off quite easily.

RodB

JimD
02-02-2010, 12:42 AM
I have very sensitive skin and use vinegar, no problem. Works better than soap and water in my experience. I also wear two layers of gloves, usually latex over nitrile.

john welsford
02-02-2010, 12:52 AM
years ago I came across a report that said, very strongly, that latex was not an effective barrier for epoxy, and may in fact be worse than bare hands. I subequently contacted protective glove manufacturer Ansell and asked the question as to which of their many gloves was the appropriate one for the chemicals in Epoxy Resin and the several hardeners common to boatbuilding in wood.
The answer was that they definitely did not reccommend their latex glove as latex was not effective, but felt that their Nitrile glove would be the best that they could offer.
Ive used them ever since, have been building in epoxy for more than 30 years, have no signs of ill effects ( knock on wood, not too hard or I'll hurt my head) and feel that this information should be more widely spread.
A bonus is that they last several uses, whereas the latex ones dont.

So, in reply to the question as to how to get the stuff off your hands, the best answer is "dont get it on your hands in the first place.

Ansell gloves are available throughout the Western world from industrial safety equipment outlets, and cost about US$14 or so per box of 100

John Welsford




I keep a stock of latex gloves on hand (no pun intended). That orange cleanser works well. My Dad always recommended a table spoon of butter topped off with a table spoon of granular sugar.......it's what I use when the orange stuff runs out......although I usually buy the stuff by the gallon with a pump for easy dispensing and keep it at the sink.

Acetone......eek, I want to keep both my ears (unlike Vincent). Or was that syphilis?

Edit: And I NEVER sand epoxy until an absolute minimum of 24 hours.....usually 48. Not-fully-cured epoxy dust is extremely toxic but once it cures it's "a little better for you".

AstoriaDave
02-02-2010, 02:19 AM
Ditto on the nitrile gloves. I converted to the church of nitrile maybe ten years ago.

Never used the barrier cream. Does it affect bonding of epoxy to wood if you get some on a surface that will soon have resin on it?

wizbang 13
02-02-2010, 06:00 AM
simple green with a green scotchbrite scrubber. green scrubber on hand skin is amazing. don't like to wear gloves cuz pretty soon the drill and planer become indistinguishable . I was working on foxy's (BVI) boat last year and was using a nearby rain barrel for cleanup. Then noticed fox was using it to drown mongooses. don't clean hands there anymore.

Canoez
02-02-2010, 08:35 AM
Nitrile for gloves. Definitely. On top of being tough, we found that some uncured resins attack the latex and make it more prone to ripping.

White vinegar and the pumice and orange oil hand cleaners are effective as is waterless hand cleaner with abrasives.

Barrier cream on your skin in addition to gloves is also a good idea to avoid trans-dermal exposure. I saw some "liquid glove" the other day and wonder about that stuff for use with epoxy.

alkorn
02-02-2010, 08:46 AM
I use the heavy "Bluette" fabric-reinforced nitrile gloves. I lose a little touch sensitivity but they've very protective and last a long, long time. When I'm finished working I wash with soap and water before taking off the gloves, otherwise they loose flexibility and crack due to built-up epoxy. Then I wash my hands again after taking the gloves off.

Lewisboats
02-02-2010, 09:19 AM
vinegar neutralizes the amines in the hardener which are partially responsible for the epoxy hardening. The 5% solution of acid that is vinegar is not harmful and works well at getting most of the epoxy thinned up and off the skin. A finish with Fast Orange or something like that takes care of the rest. Put some hand cream on after as both strip your hands of oils and can lead to chapping...especially if you have dry skin like me.

Robert W. Long
02-02-2010, 10:05 AM
So what do you know about breathing the fumes as in when cold molding in a small shed?

Canoez
02-02-2010, 10:07 AM
All manufacturers that I know of recommend working in a "well ventilated" space or using a respirator with an appropriate filter cartridge or both.

gofish
02-02-2010, 11:00 AM
Great info -Thanks

I always wear latex but now I know why they seem to rip so easily. Upshot:
Switch from latex to Nitril
Vinegar OK but I'll try the Orange Pumice.
Try out Sys 3 barrier hand cream

And we all know about sanding and epoxy dust!

Canoez
02-02-2010, 11:27 AM
And we all know about sanding and epoxy dust!

Ahhh... But do you? ;)

Always wait of the epoxy to be fully cured before sanding - the sanding goes more easily and you don't have to worry as much about the chemicals once it has become a completely cross-linked polymer.

Now the dust...

Geary
02-02-2010, 11:34 AM
I tried using vinegar at first, but I now avoid using vinegar or ANY liquid that breaks down the epoxy. Sure vinegar itself is not as toxic as acetone, but its still thinning the epoxy enabling it to get into your skin. The vinegar/epoxy mixture sure seems toxic to me.

For wet epoxy on my skin, I just rub down with fine saw dust (or wood flour from a belt sander works best, assuming you didn't sand any fiberglass recently :eek:).

The epoxy soaks up the wood flour and it all justs flakes off like Elmers glue. It's quite amazing and fast too. Then a quick soap and water hand wash and I'm done. It's the best thing since kitty litter for oil on the garage floor! And the epoxy is not leached into your skin.

Sometimes I even rub my nitrile gloved hands in a saw dust pile if they get too wet part way through the gluing process. It takes about 1 minute. (I've reused cheap gloves once or twice by doing this too).

If the epoxy sets on my skin, I just go jogging to sweat it off.

The only problem for me ... I now have a gallon of cheap vinegar in my garage that I'm not going to use anymore.

Geary
02-02-2010, 11:41 AM
Clean your coffee maker.

Doug

Excellent! It needs a cleaning.

kylee
02-02-2010, 11:42 AM
I keep a 5 gal bucket of sawdust in the shop and wash my hands in it like it was water. Pine is better than oak

Geary
02-02-2010, 11:46 AM
Yeah ... the great thing is that everyone has plenty of sawdust in their workspace to use.

Geary
02-02-2010, 11:48 AM
... Pine is better than oak

I prefer Doug Fir myself. :D

Yeah, oak saw dust smells funny. I cleaned up with it recently and my wife said I smelled of urine.