EPOXY RESIN SAFETY in 2023 | The MUST HAVE Items
Working with mixed epoxy resin is fun and exciting, and there are so many things you can make with resin. It is important to know about epoxy resin safety and what you need to wear to continue to safely enjoy working with resin.
There are many different resin-related project you can take on, and these include:
- Resin countertops
- Resin flooring
- Resin jewelry
- Geode resin art
- Resin tumblers
- Resin coasters
- Cutting boards
- Resin pours
- Resin in silicone molds
- Resin crafts
- Resin tables
- River tables
- and much more
In this article, we are going to cover some basic epoxy safety questions, then go into the gear you truly need.
Here is what we will cover below:
- RESIN SAFETY TIPS - Discussion:
- What resin safety equipment is ACTUALLY needed
- When should you purchase your safety gear
- EPOXY RESIN SAFETY:
- Is resin toxic?
- Are there non toxic resins?
- RESIN SAFETY Precautions:
- 1 - Resin respirator (why full face is the best, what your respirator need to have in order to protect you from resin fumes, which is the best one, why do you need a respirator with resin, what is resin sensitization)
- 2 - Nitrile gloves (why nitrile, why latex won't work)
- 3 - Wear protective clothing
- 4 - Clean resin spills immediately
- 5 - Don't use solvents
- 6 - Remove resin from skin safely
You don't need to be a full time resin artist to get your safety precautions in check, and it doesn't matter which epoxy resins you decide to use.
Whether you are working with polyester resin, sanding epoxy, cured epoxy, uv resin or any mixed epoxy products, these are all of the safety precautions you will want to consider.
What Resin Safety Equipment Is Actually Needed?
So, when it comes to resin equipment, you may be wondering, do I need a respirator when working with resin? Am I wearing the right gloves for resin? Am I properly protected from resin fumes and spills? Do I need all of this resin safety equipment if I am only making small resin crafts like resin jewelry?
When To Purchase Epoxy Resin Safety Gear
The sooner you get the proper safety equipment for working with resin, the better. Why? Because of the risk of sensitization, which is an over-exposure to resin over time. The sooner you get the right safety equipment on, the better. So if you are just beginning with resin and are purchasing your beginner resin supplies, make sure to include your protective equipment.
We will go in depth into sensitization with epoxy resin more in this article below.
We are going to answer all of your resin-safety questions below and talk about each piece of safety equipment to consider, why you want to consider it, and if it is absolutely necessary or a personal choice when it comes to mixed epoxy resin.
Let's get into it.
Epoxy Resin Safety
Here is everything you need to know to protect yourself when working closely with resin. To work safely with resin, the two necessary items that you need to wear for epoxy resin safety are a proper respirator for resin and the right gloves, which are made from nitrile.
There are many resin safety tips in this article to protect you further as a resin artist, but we also suggest reading the safety data sheet (SDS) for the specific brand of epoxy you are working with as well.
There are more epoxy safety items and personal protective equipment (PPE) to consider for epoxy work, but those are the top two. Read further to learn which respirator and gloves protect you properly when working with resin.
When using any kind of resin, there are many different parts of the body that should be protected from resin:
- The lungs and respiratory tract need safe protection from resin fumes during resin pouring, mixing and curing
- The eyes need safe protection from resin fumes and accidental interaction
- Other parts of the body that are exposed to resin such as fingers and hands need to be protected and safe when working with epoxy
Is Resin Toxic?
Epoxy resin is a chemical that you need to be safe around, like most other chemicals. You don't want to be breathing the fumes in or splashing resin around your room, but if you are properly protected and keep your resin tools designated for resin use only (ie: resin cups, protective gloves, trash can), you will have nothing to worry about. These epoxy resin safety tips are all that you need to be ready to work with resin safely.
Are There Non Toxic Resins Out There?
It is also important to know that there are many epoxy resin brands out there that claim to be non toxic.
It is important to know that these claims can be made for the resin and hardener on their own (separately, pre-mixed), but once combined in their proper mixing ratio, there is a chemical reaction that occurs which releases fumes that you will need to protect yourself from with a proper mask, and with proper gloves for skin interaction.
In saying this, we are simply saying that you should use a respirator with any resin, but we would also like to mention that ArtResin is a "non-toxic" resin that we love working with for non-deep pours and we recommend trying it.
Epoxy Resin Safety Equipment
Here is exactly what you need to be safe while getting creative.
1. A Respirator For Resin
When working with epoxy, whether it is a large project such as a resin countertop or floor, or a smaller project like a resin tumbler, you are always going to want to wear a respirator.
Some respirators will protect you from resin fumes and some will not, and it can be hard to decipher which ones are appropriate for the chemical, the off-gassing and the mixed chemicals you are using.
So we are going to share what you need to look for in a respirator for epoxy safety.
Full Face Resin Respirators
Full-face respirators give the absolute best face and lung protection out there when you are working with epoxy resin. No need to wear safety goggles when you have full face protection.
Full face masks are best for resin protection.
Why? They not only protect your lungs and respiratory tract, but your eyes as well. So no need to look for safety goggles if you are opting for a half face respirator, as the safety goggles are essentially built in to an all-in-one resin mask.
It is important to also note that you should always work in a well ventilated area whether you have a mask on or not so you don't have fumes travelling through your home.
What does your respirator have to have in order to protect you from resin fumes?
The proper respirator for resin needs to:
- Properly seal around your face
- Feel as comfortable as it can so you are not adjusting and letting air in, or taking it off and putting it back on constantly
- Have organic vapor filters to filter out harmful resin fumes. This is extremely important: don't even look at a respirator if it doesn't have organic filters
- Protect you from resin fumes by having an N95 or N95 equivalent rating, which means that it will block at least 95% of small particles; around the size of at least 0.3 microns.
The best respirators for resin are the ones we personally have used for years and have done a lot of research on.
Why is this the best respirator for epoxy resin?
The respirators we suggest using (there are different ones to choose from) but they all have:
- An N95 equivalent rating
- Organic filters
- Flex-fit head harness, which means it stays in position once you adjust it to your head and is as comfortable as it gets
- Adjustable straps that tighten with one pull. No messing around here
- Money back guarantee and a 1-year warranty when purchased directly from them
- Options for half face respirators, full face respirators and respirators to fit over glasses
Read our respirator mask article here to learn more:
Listed below are the best respirators that will properly protect the user from resin fumes, as well as one specifically made for people who wear glasses. These are direct purchase links from the company, and are the proper links to get your warranty through for each one:
*These masks are also good for sanding resin and cured epoxy.
Why do you need a respirator when working with resin?
There is a risk of sensitization through over-exposure to resin. Some people get reactions because of this, and some don't.
When you do experience sensitization to resin, it can often present in the form of red bumps, itching, scaly skin, breathing issues such as shortness of breath... etc.
It is important to wear protection so as not to become sensitized to resin exposure.
What is resin sensitization?
When talking about chemical reactions, sensitization is what happens when you have exposure to a product or chemical that over time, can induce an allergic-like reaction.
This "allergy" can develop immediately, or over a period of time after use. This allergic reaction typically develops on the areas of highest exposure, such as arms, hands, and fingers in the form of dermatitis, but other reactions can occur as well.
Wearing the proper safety equipment will prevent resin sensitization.
2. Disposable NITRILE Gloves
The area of highest exposure on your skin when mixing and pouring resin is your hands and fingers. Keeping in mind that the hands are also the most transmissible part of the body. One would not want to get resin in the eye or mouth accidently from the hand. The solution? Wear disposable gloves made from the right material.
To avoid getting resin on your hands and likely elsewhere, you absolutely need to have disposable gloves on, and they must be nitrile. Latex gloves are not made wo work with chemical compounds such as resin.
When you are mixing resin or pouring resin, if you do get resin on your skin accidentally, don't go running for vinegar or spirits. Instead, read about how to get resin off of hands naturally so you don't end up reacting to it or spreading it to other parts of the body or to things like door knobs where others may touch.
Wearing disposable gloves made from nitrile is one of the simplest safety tips as they are really easy to purchase and have them come right to your door, and they are very cost-effective.
Almost every brand of epoxy resin has gloves on their product safety data sheet as protective gear to wear, but do not specify which gloves work with their product, and which ones do not.
3. Wear Protective Clothing
Have resin-designated clothing that you wear when you are going to work with resin. An old shirt that covers your arms and pants and socks or shoes. Make these your resin-only clothes.
You can even layer up and have something on underneath as resin can go through clothes and make contact with skin when you get those resin drips.
Resin-designated clothing will also help if you are sanding resin. You absolutely do not want to have those dry, floating resin particles lingering around you house. Keep them on your designated clothes and leave them in your resin work space, epoxy tent or the well ventilated area you do your resin work in.
4. Clean Resin Spills Immediately
If you drop resin on your surface or floor, you are going to want to clean it before it cures. Use a resin designated cloth, and do not use solvents on it. Simply clean it as much as you can so you don't accidently step on it and carry it around with you leaving resin spots where you go.
To be extra prepared, you can cover your floor surface with something to catch spills with if you want to protect your floor. Lay down a cheap roll of floor vinyl - you can usually find this discounted in your local hardware store as extra or discarded floor vinyl. Otherwise, you can use a drop cloth, just make sure it isn't slippery.
Here are some non-slip drop cloths you can use or have on hand for your floors when working with resin.
5. Don't Use Solvents To Clean Resin
If you accidently get a drop of resin on your table, furniture or elsewhere, do not use alcohol, wipes, vinegar or solvents. Instead, try using baking soda mixed with dish soap if it does not come right off, and be sure to try a test spot first.
6. Remove Resin From Skin Safely
If you accidently drip resin onto your skin, again, do not use any solvents to try to get it off. This may create irritation on your skin. There are natural scrubs you can make that won't irritate your skin, and it is best to do this right away while the resin is still somewhat wet.
One way to get resin off of skin safely, is with a baking soda scrub.
- Pour 1 tbsp. baking soda directly onto your hand
- Pour 1 tbsp. of dish detergent (in liquid form) onto your other hand
- Scrub your hands together over a sink and rinse with warm water
- Repeat several times until it is off of your hands
To learn more about getting resin off of skin, head over to our article with another way to do so.
We hope you found this epoxy safety article helpful.
Please share this safety article on your social media pages and in forums. You can help spread the word about protecting yourself from resin exposure, as it is not often talked about, especially with beginner resin artists.
Resin How To's
Resin Supplies & Purchasing Advice
Best Resin For Your Project
USE RESIN SAFELY
No matter what type of resin you decide to use, always use personal protective equipment (PPE). Take time to carefully go over safety data sheets before making anything with resin, and make sure you have the proper gloves on (not latex) and the right respirator for resin protection.
And please remember, even if your epoxy resin of choice is "VOC-free, odor free" and/or "non toxic", please always wear the proper respirator for epoxy resin.
Here is the BEST respirator mask for epoxy resin: this Full Face Organic Vapor Respirator checks off all of the boxes for resin safety, and comes with
- free 30 day returns
- a 1 year factory warranty
- free US shipping and free shipping on international orders
Here it is:
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