What PPE Do You Need While Working with Resin? 

Before we get into details about PPE, you need to first understand what resin is and how harmful it can be. Resins are used in a wide range of sectors, including jewellery, artwork, and sculpture, as well as building and construction. 

They are basically thermosetting polymer-based plastic adhesives with good resistance qualities. And this thermosetting refers to a material that permanently sets when heated, and polymer refers to a substance composed of many molecules linked together to create a very long chain.

Talking about safety while working with resin, Personal Protection Equipment, or PPE, is something that every resin artist must consider.

What PPE Do You Need While Working with Resin

Whether doing the very minimum and donning gloves and masks, or going all out and wearing a complete HAZMAT suit, every person working with resin wears some type of personal protective equipment. Working with resin is enjoyable, but precautions must be taken. 

Before we get into details about PPE, here is something you need to understand. 

Let us talk about the different sets of PPE that must be used while working with resins. 

1.) Respirators/ masks- Use respirators approved by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and make sure it fits properly. 

Many resins do not necessitate the use of a respirator. But we’re talking about chemicals here. You can never be too cautious. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so protect yourself against fumes, even if you can’t smell them. 

2.) Gloves- You must remember to keep your hands safe from the resin and hardener liquids. Gloves will protect your hands from a sticky mess as well as potential skin issues. 

We probably recommended nitrile gloves, which are comparable to latex but more stronger as they are puncture resistant, and contain none of the allergic components often associated with latex. If you have really sensitive skin, you should also apply a barrier lotion to your hands first.

3.) Safety glasses- If a resin necessitates the use of a respirator, you must also wear safety eyewear to protect your eyes from toxins and fumes. Wear them as well if you are sanding the resin.  

Hopefully, you won’t have to worry about resin spilling into your eyes, but just in case, safety glasses are an affordable method to keep your eyes safe.

4.) Bodysuit- Resin may penetrate clothes and irritate the skin. Additionally, resin will not come out of clothing easily even after washing them, so it is advisable to keep a separate set of clothes while working with resin. 

A PVC or rubber apron will safeguard you by offering an extra layer of protection.

Here are some resin safety rules and tips that may assist you in keeping you safe from harm while working with resins- 

1.) Proper ventilation- When dealing with resins, make sure there is enough fresh air in the room. If required, open a window or use a fan. Even if you’re working in a basement or an enclosed area, make sure that there is sufficient ventilation. 

How do you determine if the room has proper ventilation? 

You need to open the windows. If possible, open windows and ventilators in the opposite direction so that there is cross ventilation in the room. 

Set your ceiling fan to pull air away from you and up to the top of the room. This is very useful if you are unable to open the windows. This will remove any odors from your work space. 

2.) Clean up the resin mess once you’re done for the day- Clear resin spills on the skin should be cleaned up quickly with a strong detergent. 

If you have a resin spill on your skin, it is not advised to use acetone or a chlorinated base solution to clean it up. This will just cause the resin to penetrate further into your skin and cause irritation. Use a good detergent with plenty of water.

Preferably, Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid-


3.) Properly dispose of resin products- Never pour them down the drain or into the sewer system. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for disposing of unneeded products and empty containers, which may include taking them to a hazardous materials collection facility near you and disposed of properly without causing harm to anybody. 

4.) Request Safety Data Sheets (SDS) for the items you want to use- It is always advisable to follow the instructions given by professionals or experts. SDS information is the ultimate resource for resin craft safety and will provide the item’s chemical composition, safety guidelines, and first aid advice if there is an issue.

5.) Use a resin that has been certified for use in arts and crafts- By law, any resin sold in the United States for the purpose of manufacturing arts and crafts must adhere to ASTM D-4236. 

In a word, this implies that a toxicologist assessed the resin kit components and decided that they are safe for use in art. The same toxicologist gives suggestions on how to utilise the product safely. Wearing gloves, for example, comes into play here.

This certification does not imply that the resin is non-toxic, food-safe, or location-specific. If you use a resin that does not comply with ASTM D-4236, you have no idea if it is safe for artistic purposes.

Here are some health issues you can go through while working with resins- 

1.) Dermatitis

When exposed to too much epoxy resin or hardener, less than 10% of people suffer from a rash that is usually the result of the allergic response, which is recognised medically as acute contact dermatitis. A rash might be caused by either the epoxy resin or the hardener. 

The discomfort might be considerable, but the symptoms normally go away after the epoxy is removed from the body. Repeated contact, on the other hand, may result in chronic contact dermatitis.

This is generally milder but lasts longer. If left untreated for an extended length of time, it might proceed to eczema, which can cause swelling, blisters, and itching.

Contact dermatitis or skin irritation is the most prevalent type of dermatitis that can occur when epoxy resin comes into contact with skin. Therefore, the proper use of PPE can lessen the likelihood of skin inflammation and irritation. 

2.) Allergic dermatitis

While allergic dermatitis, which occurs when the body overreacts to an allergen, is more dangerous, it affects less than 2% of epoxy users.

This sensitization is an allergy that develops as a result of repeated exposures. Your chances of getting this condition are determined by your immune system as well as the extent and frequency of your epoxy exposure. 

Epoxy sensitization can occur after a number of exposures or after only one. Some people get sensitive in a matter of days, while others need years.

Because there is no way to determine how much exposure you can tolerate before becoming allergic, the best method is to prevent any exposure.

3.) Chemical burns 

Although epoxy resin and mixed epoxy are unlikely to cause burns, several of the hardeners we get are toxic. These hardeners can cause serious irritation and chemical burns if they come into contact with the skin.

When hardener comes into touch with the skin, it can irritate it significantly and produce mild chemical burns. These appear gradually, starting with discomfort and little pain. The burn may discolor or scar the skin.

4.) Respiratory issues

Breathing in excessive concentrations of resin vapor can cause respiratory discomfort and hypersensitivity. At room temperature, these vapors are unlikely to be very concentrated. 

However, if you are already sensitive to epoxy, even tiny vapor quantities might cause an allergic response.

Epoxy vapor levels rise in hotter weather and in poorly ventilated areas, and become caught in the mucus lining of your respiratory system, causing significant irritation and/or respiratory allergies.

Lastly, we would like you give you some general guidelines on how you can dispose off leftover resin-

1.) Save leftover resin and hardeners for your future projects. Get materials that have a longer shelf life. 

2.) Before disposal, unwanted resin and hardener should be mixed together and allowed to cure and cool to a non-hazardous solid.

3.) Remember, warm containers drain more easily. 

4.) Make every effort to empty resin and hardener containers before disposing of them. 

5.) Uncontaminated epoxy that has been spilt or leaked should be reclaimed. It’s garbage if it’s polluted. When you use a solvent to clean up a spill, the contaminated epoxy-solvent mixture may be classed as a controlled hazardous waste.

6.) Never dispose of hazardous trash directly into the ground, air, or water. Many states conduct waste collections on a regular basis, accepting domestic waste for safe disposal.

Conclusion

You are responsible for your own health and safety. Following resin safety measures and procedures, as well as being aware and literate about the goods you use, will safeguard your health and safety when using resins epoxy products.