Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Safe Use of Adhesives

Before using any adhesive, adequate ventilation of your work area needs to be addressed. A window or door should be open and/or a small fan placed to circulate the air over your workbench. When using CA, especially super-thin INSTA-CURE, always loosen the top and then retighten it before carefully cutting off the end of the nozzle. This relieves any pressure that may have built-up inside the bottle that could cause the CA to spurt out. This is definitely an issue when CA is used at higher altitudes. Never have the bottle pointing close to your face while opening it.

The fumes produced by CA are an evaporated form of the CA itself. Develop a habit of never having your face above the objects that you are bonding together. Always keep them well in front of you. The fumes that rise during the curing process, while not toxic, can be very irritating to the eyes and nose. Repeated heavy exposure can cause some people to become sensitized to the fumes. For these people, any exposure to CA fumes can result in cold or flu-type symptoms. If you find yourself falling into this category there are two options. First, you can switch to another adhesive such as BSI's odorless SUPER-GOLD. Second, you can use protective gear such as a respirator. 3-M makes a dual-cartridge paint spray mask (R-6211) with #6001 Organic Vapor Cartridges that works very well in preventing adverse reactions to CA. 3M 5010 pre-filters can be attached for additional protection.
Cyanoacrylates do not have an adverse effect on body tissue. The heat that is generated when CA comes in contact with human skin can result in some burning, however. Do not wipe-off CA that gets on your hands with a dry paper towel! Most paper towels seem to have just the right chemistry to instantly set off CA with a resultant burst of heat. While not dangerous, this can be very uncomfortable. The primary difference in CA's developed for medical use is the very low heat that is produced when they cure.
Surgical gloves for your hands are recommended when using slower curing epoxies. This is a matter of both convenience and safety. It is a rule that you will have some epoxy on your hands when the phone rings or you need to open a door. It is a nice feeling to know you can just peel off a glove and have a clean hand. While protective creams safeguard your skin, they still can result in epoxy coated doorknobs. Hand protection is much less an issue with faster curing epoxies such as BSI's QUIK-CURE since they are thicker and are less likely to run and they remain sticky and gooey for a much shorter period of time.