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Green stuff and other epoxies -- health hazards & precautions

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I did a fair bit of forum searching on this subject in the past. What I found was a lot of people never had problems, a few had issues from the start, and a lot of people start with no problems but develop sensitivity, sometimes severe, to the stuff through use.

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It's not uncommon for things that may cause allergies to build up from zero to severe over time. If it gets severe you can end up with hives or itching all over just from being in the room with the stuff. So I would certainly not just say "Oh, it's only an irritant", as a severe eczema outbreak will permanently redefine your concept of "irritant" from "I imagine it would probably itch" to "DEAR MERCIFUL GOD! HELL WILL BE LIKE THIS!!".

 

Try googling eczema for an idea, but remember it's not really the chemical's fault. Some people get that from cats, UV light, soap, conditioner, or suchlike.

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I did a fair bit of forum searching on this subject in the past. What I found was a lot of people never had problems, a few had issues from the start, and a lot of people start with no problems but develop sensitivity, sometimes severe, to the stuff through use.

 

The thing is, until it happens you never know which group you fall into. That's why everyone taking minimal safety precautions is a good idea.

 

When I was just starting art school I met an older student who had developed a skin reaction to paint thinner and had to wear gloves whenever he painted. It alarmed me so much that I learned to paint wearing those thick yellow dishwashing gloves (now I use thin medical exam gloves).

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A word on latex gloves: lots of things dissolve them. Your spray primer, possibly any enamel paint, and any oil or solvent based thinner. Anything that's got a hydrocarbon in it. Some make them wear through, others make them vanish, some turn them to goop.

 

I'd strongly suggest nitrile gloves as a minimum in any situation where you're hoping for chemical safety. And if you're going to use advice from a miniatures forum whilst out in the garage or garden, 1. read the label, 2. elbow length PVC gloves and SOMETHING over your eyes, for the love of all that's holy.

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I use nitrile gloves from the pharmacy (latex allergy, ugh). They're bright purple, and when I bring them to workshops the kids love them.

how do you knead the putty green without it sticking to the gloves? I'm worried that petroleum jelly would get kneaded in with the putty if I coated the fingers of my gloves with it...

 

Not a big deal. Most sculptors use petroleum jelly as a lubricant when sculpting. One trick is to ensure that you have a bit of the jelly on your fingers before mixing it so a bit gets into the mix (Gene taught me that one). This allows it to adhere better to previous work. If using jelly though, make sure you clean the mini with a degreaser like simple green before painting it.

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Summer '11 I stained and poly'd a couple thousand board feet of 1x4 and 1x6 for a craftsman-style trim project (for one room!). Nitrile gloves are the thing!

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Epoxy can be mixed in running water. If you mix your green stuff in a sink of warm water it sticks to your fingers virtually never and is more plyable when warm! :)

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If green stuff is so bad then why does it have to work so well by putting both parts in your mouth and chewing them together...

 

i do that and now i have zero dental cavities ^_^

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I usually have water right beside me when I'm kneading Greenstuff. I usually only use it for gap filler, although I've made a few mutant miniatures with it (mutant-as in horrors that should never be seen by my eyes or otherwise). Greenstuff doesn't usually affect my hands at all, although milliput tends to dry them out. I use gloves & water with Milliput, but nothing but water with GS.

 

I will also add to the list of things I didn't ever want to hear "chewing greenstuff to green consistency." :zombie:

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