The Complete Respirator and Safety Guide - Borrowed from 405th

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The Complete Respirator and Safety Guide - Borrowed from 405th

Post  DarkeSword on Thu Jul 23, 2009 12:08 pm

The Complete Respirator and Safety Guide
Overview of hazardous materials and safety precautions

There are certain materials commonly used in the creation of costume armor that are hazardous to your health and should ONLY be used with proper safety equipment, ventilation and in accordance with the manufacturers safety recommendations.

Offworld Armory insists on the responsible use of these materials by its members and guests to this site in the creation of costume armor.

These hazardous materials include but are not limited to:

Polyester or 'Fiberglass' resin is a two part liquid plastic that is commonly sold for repair projects. A kit consists of a quantity of resin and a smaller quantity of catalyst or hardener. Adding the hardener to the resin in the manufacturers specified ratio (usually 1/10) will cause the liquid resin to cure to a very hard, yet brittle plastic. Using this resin in combination with fiberglass cloth yields a reinforced composite material that is strong, lightweight and rigid.

Polyester resin is a particularly dangerous material because of the fumes that it gives off in an unmixed state and during the curing process. Short-term effects of these fumes are dizziness, nausea and skin irritation. Long–term effects of overexposure can include nervous system (brain) damage, asphyxiation, and cancer related hazards.

For further information, the Material Safety Data Sheet for this material can be found here:

Bondo is a two-part putty for the cosmetic repair of dents in cars, created by the Bondo Corporation. While the term "Bondo" is a brand name for this company's product, it is commonly used in the U.S. as a genericized trademark to refer to all auto-repair putties or so-called plastic body fillers. Bondo is a polyester resin product that when mixed with a hardener (an organic peroxide), or catalyst, turns into a putty which then sets and becomes rock-hard.

As bondo is variant of Polyester resin, it carries with it all the same hazards and potential for long-term damage, see above.

For further information, the Material Safety Data Sheet for this material can be found here:

Urethane resin is a low viscosity two part plastic that is frequently used for casting. The resin part of a urethane product is not very hazardous. This is because it is not actually a "urethane resin." Instead, it is any of several types of resins such as polyesters, polyethers, polyols, epoxies, and so on. These resins do not become "polyurethane" until they are reacted (cured, hardened, etc. ) with a diisocyanate. These diisocyanates are the problem.
Diisocyanate hardeners are capable of causing severe respiratory allergies and lung damage. Most notably, they cause a debilitating incurable occupational illness called "isocyanate asthma." Sudden respiratory spasms and anaphylactic shock on exposure to diisocyanates also has resulted in death among workers using urethanes. There have been cases in which deaths occurred suddenly and without warning in people with no prior history of allergies.

For further information, the Material Safety Data Sheet for this material can be found here:

Cyanoacrylate or ‘Super Glue” is the generic name for substances such as ethyl-2-cyanoacrylate, which is typically sold under trademarks like Superglue and Krazy Glue. Cyanoacrylate adhesives are sometimes known as "instant adhesives". The acronym "CA" is quite commonly used for industrial grades
Cyanoacrylates bond skin and eyes in seconds. Cyanoacrylates give off vapor which is irritating to eyes, mucous membranes and the respiratory system.

For further information, the Material Safety Data Sheet for this material can be found here:

Epoxy or polyepoxide is a thermosetting epoxide polymer that cures (polymerizes and crosslinks) when mixed with a catalyzing agent or "hardener". Most common epoxy resins are produced from a reaction between two parts. Epoxies are frequently used as glue or hardeners in the craft and creations of costume armor.
The primary risk associated with epoxy use is sensitization to the hardener, which, over time, can induce an allergic reaction.Both epichlorohydrin and bisphenol A are suspected endocrine disruptors.According to some reports [5] Bisphenol A is linked to the following effects in humans:
• oestrogenic activity;
• alteration of male reproductive organs;
• early puberty induction;
• shortened duration of breast feeding;
• pancreatic cancer

For further information, the Material Safety Data Sheet for this material can be found here:" target="_blank">

Safety precautions

Fumes and Vapors:

Many of the materials used in costume armor making are hazardous but can be used safely by taking certain saftey precautions. First and foremost, most of these products require the use of a Organic Vapor Respirator. In addition to this precaution, saftey glasses and latex or nitrile gloves will protect against skin absorbtion and irritation from these chemicals.
There are many types of respirators designed for different uses. For the use of materials that cast off harmful vapors and organic fumes (Polyester Resin,Bondo,Urethane Resin, Epoxies) an OSHA or NIOSH approved respirator rated for fumes and organic vapors is absolutely necessary. These respirators use a cartridge filtration system that both filters and chemically neutralizes these hazardous chemicals.

Appropriate Respirators for fumes and vapors:

Work with plenty of ventilation, and be safe. Don’t cheap out of your health, it WILL cost you later in life.

Dusts and Particulates:

The afforementioned respirators will filter dust and particualtes as well as fumes and vapors. If you wish to extend the life of your organic vapor respirator, you may want to use a different respirator while sanding.
A good dust mask will create a proper seal on your face, and will not allow unfiltered particulates to pass around the mask and into your lungs. Higher end dust mast are far more effective at this than cheap paper masks.

Skin Absorbtion/Irritation:

Latex, vinyl, or nitrile gloves will protect the exposed skin of your hands from skin irritation as well as from chemical burns, and absorbtion of the chemical through the porous membranes of your skin.

Eye protection:

In additon to the previous measures, eye protection will prevent liquid splashes, and dusts from entering your eyes. Eyes can be extremely sensitive to these chemicals, and eye protection is a serious issue. As in all safety precaustions, it is better to wear it, that to regret it later.

I hope that this guide prepares you for the materials that you come into contact with in this hobby. Be sure to read ALL accompanying saftey warnings with EVERY material that you use. If you have any questions, or would like advice on a particular material, please let me know.

Be safe, and make cool armor!

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Join date : 2009-07-22
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