I've sawed off all the plank ends at the bow that were installed in the last three months, so as I put up more pics, they'll show the new work in progress.
"Help - Typical symptoms of epoxy hypersensivity?" (Alan MacBride , Mon 18:12) Newsgroups: rec.boats.building
Fairly clean. Nitril gloves, some attention to not getting the snot all over ourselves. Not always completely successful. Immediate cleanoff with vinegar then soap. Exposure is mostly on the arms.
RAKA 127 resin, slow set hardener. Mix is 2-to-1. Having used other epoxies, this is a fairly benign mix. (The 5-to-1 goop I used to use make my eyes water occasionally.)
How soon can can or do symptoms manifest themselves?
What do they look or act like?
Other than not working with epoxy, are there any preventive measures?
Oh! One other thing I just thought of. The shop is very well ventilated. The garage door is wide open all the time we're working.
Thanks in advance to everyone,
The primary problem with epoxy allergy is skin sensitization. Since our usual boat building epoxies have little to no vapor, there is much less problem with inhalant sensitization, therefore there is no standard recommendation for mask protection. The exception to this would be if you're sanding epoxy that is still green, i.e. not cured for several days.
Any allergy is more likely to develop in those individuals that are 'atopic', i.e. allergy prone. Atopy clusters in families. The 3 main disorders of atopic individuals are eczema, asthma and hay fever. If you, or others of your near blood relatives, have any of these problems, then you are more likely to be sensitized to allergenic substances, such as epoxy. OTOH, some substances are so allergenic that most people react to them. A classic example of this is poison oak/ivy/sumac.
The skin sensitization that can develop is 'contact dermatitis'. It could develop very quickly (few days) after exposure if the individual is very allergy prone or is already sensitized to something similar to it. Or it can develop after years of exposure. It develops at the areas of contact. It is an excematoid type rash, which is also what poison oak rash is. So, the acute rash itself looks the same in detail, but in general is different in that a contact dermatitis is at the areas of contact, and not in the pattern of excema which isn't due to contact. So....
The acute rash will show as itchy red bumps, that may then form small blisters that can then break and weep. Later the rash can get dry and crusty. Secondary bacterial infection can develop when the skin is weepy. With chronic excematoid dermatitis the skin gets dry, thickened, cracks, and becomes what is called 'lichenified'. Since it's pretty common to get accidental epoxy on the forearms just above your gloves, that'd be a common spot for the rash to first develop. Other areas might be the knees, and fingers (if your gloves tear). I suspect that symptoms in and around the eyes, (red, itch, tearing, etc.) is either due to touching that area with your hands, or from green epoxy dust.
Obviously the best treatment is prevention. Once sensitized to one epoxy, you'll likely remain sensitized forever, though I suppose it may be possible that different brands of epoxies have different catalysts to which you might not be sensitized. Yet, if you do start getting the itchy rash, all is not lost, any more than those that get other forms of occupational contact dermatitis necessarily have to quit their jobs. It's a matter of degree and treatment.
Aside from careful prevention of further contact after sensitization, the treatment primarily consists of cortisone type anti-inflamatory steroid medications applied to the skin. There are a zillion steroid creams of varying strengths. Severe generalized reactions could require systemic, i.e. oral or injected, steroids. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or other antihistamines can be used to control the itch. So, if an individual starts to get the rash, the home treatment would be application of over the counter cortisone cream 3 or 4 times a day and oral antihistamines, plus prevention of further contact. A problem with wearing impervious gloves is the sweating you get under them. An axiom of dermatology is "If it's wet, dry it. If it's dry, wet it." So, a weepy contact dermatitis in a sweaty glove would not be a good thing. Wearing larger rubber gloves over cotton gloves to absorb the sweat would help. OTC cortisone cream is very much at the weak end of steroid creams. Unfortunately, all the stronger stuff is prescription in the USA.
Mark Anderson (A general physician, but not a dermatologist)
DBA Riparia www.teleport.com/~andermar/
"The trouble with good ideas is that they soon degenerate into a lot of hard work." Anon.
We'll just have to wait and see what develops after Alicia goes to the dermatologist.
An addendum to the Alicia question... Her doctor thinks she might be allergic to her cats. But! They still drained her of several gallons of blood to run tests.
You may be asking yourselves, "What happened to planking the hull? It was almost done. I want to see the hull."
Well friends, there is a method to my "Madness". You see, at this point, there's about 30"s to go, but once the hull is finished, it'll be like working on a steeply pitched roof. Right now I can stand inside the boat on any of the horizontal surfaces and work comfortably on the various keel elements. So, bare with me as these details get accomplished, and then planking will get finished.
Who says cats and dawgs can't get along?
"Sharkbait" started hanging around a couple of days ago. He's quite at home sprawling in the sawdust. He's a fearless little squirt. The racket of power tools doesn't bother him in the least. His regular haunt is the garage in front of this complex, where he can be found sleeping under one of the trucks being worked on, but he comes over to check up on progress several times a day, especially around BBQ time.
Autumn. There's a reason it's called "Fall".
Copyright © 2000 Alan "Maddog!" MacBride
Most recent revision 09/04/00
Copyright © 2000 Alan "Maddog!" MacBride