EPOXY CLAY SAFETY | Should you wear gloves? Risk of skin sensitisation & allergic contact dermatitis

EPOXY CLAY SAFETY | Should you wear gloves? Risk of skin sensitisation & allergic contact dermatitis


Hey. Yeah you. Are you using epoxy clay? Are you using it safely? Oh, really? Do you wear gloves while mixing both parts? Do you wash your hands after sculpting? Do you make sure not to touch your face with your dirty paws? Do you wear a respirator while sanding? Okay, well, that is quite an obvious requirement. But good on ya, I guess. You know, there’s a lot of incorrect information out there.
That you might have been believing. Some people simply give terrible advice. Something many people wonder is, is epoxy clay toxic? Toxic? Nah, clay is meant to be used by human hands. Yeah, they recommend you use gloves while mixing, but I have been doing it with my bare
hands for a few years now and I’ve never had a problem. So, it’s no big deal. But the packaging says it could cause an allergic reaction. They just have to say that, just in case something
does happen. So many products we use have that warning. Don’t take it so seriously. Don’t listen to these people! Yeah, it’s your right to live on the edge if you want to. But your advice is bad. As a dollmaker, I’ve been using an epoxy type clay for over 2 years now. For most of that time, I followed the directions and wore gloves while mixing
both parts, but eventually I got lazy. I have always washed my hands properly and wear a
respirator while sanding. But turns out, I was not aware of the risks of repeated contact with epoxy products, including the clay I use. I was naïve to assume only industrial
heavy-duty epoxy products could have consequences. There is a lot of false information online
regarding epoxy clay and people being bad examples on Youtube, including myself in one video. Because I intend to keep using epoxy clay for a very long time and you might as well, let’s get the facts straight and I will give you some proper advice. The most straight forward advice I can give you is: Don’t ignore the safety recommendations of your art supplies. Simply follow the directions on the packaging. Companies list them for a reason. When working with epoxy clay, wear nitrile gloves
(not latex) at least while mixing both parts, because this is when the chemical reaction happens to activate the A and B components so they cure. Wearing gloves also ensures proper mixing. While sanding,
wear a dust mask or even better: a proper respirator. If you don’t protect yourself, you could risk developing an allergy to epoxy in the long run. With the epoxy type clays
that I know of, the packaging states to wear gloves when mixing the 2 parts together and
it’s up to you whether or not you keep your gloves on after mixing. But all my research here tells me that it’s worth minimizing contact with epoxy as much as possible. Which means keeping your gloves on for as long as you can. Just to help prevent the possibility
of developing an allergy or skin condition altogether. Besides that, it’s very important
to wash your hands regularly and to not touch your face while you are sculpting. Now, hold on, pause it right there for a second. I want to make it very clear that using epoxy clay
in a careless manner, does not mean you will for sure develop an allergy over time. It
will all be explained in this video, so please keep watching. The point of this video is
not to scare you away from epoxy clay, but to raise awareness and to give you the information
you need to protect yourself. How do you know if I am right when I say others are wrong? Well, I have the research to back me up, which you can find in the description box. And I’ve read people’s epoxy allergy stories, including to clays. I have done this research not just
for you, but also for my own health and safety concerns. This video is not sponsored. I use
Apoxie Sculpt for making dolls and I plan to use it for a very long time, so I contacted
Aves directly for their product clarification. Aves is the company that makes Apoxie Sculpt,
Apoxie Clay and many other great products. A quick note before I continue: This video
is not about Aves products specifically, but I will be using Apoxie Sculpt as an example,
since it’s what I am familiar with and the people from Aves were kind enough to answer
any questions I had about their products. From what I’ve gathered, most epoxy clays
are quite similar, and the risks I will be talking about in this video applies to all
the different brands out there. If you want to learn more about the brand you are using
or want to buy, please read the packaging of that specific product, check the manufacturer’s
website and contact the company directly if you have any concerns. Every manufactured
product has something called a ‘safety data sheet’, a document that contains information
on the potential hazards and how to work safely using it. If it’s not visible on their website,
you can email the company asking for it. The ones Google feeds you are usually very outdated,
so don’t blindly trust your search results. Aves states in their latest safety data sheet
about Apoxie Sculpt from 2015, that: “Uncured component contact with the skin may cause
allergic reaction in susceptible individuals.” It also says: “Except for potential skin
sensitization, repeated exposures to the uncured resins are not anticipated to cause any significant
adverse effects. Wearing gloves while blending parts A & B will greatly reduce risk of sensitization.”
What they are saying is, is that while Apoxie Sculpt is not inherently toxic or dangerous,
a small percentage of people can be allergic to it. And they acknowledge that skin sensitization
is a possibility. So, let’s talk about that. Skin sensitisation is defined as an allergic
response to a substance after skin contact, also called allergic dermatitis. Substances
are classified as skin sensitizers if there is evidence in humans that the substance can
lead to sensitization by skin contact. Epoxy resin is one of these substances. Usually,
dermatitis appears much like a reaction to poison ivy and may include swelling, itching
and red eyes. Just like with poison ivy, the irritation can be mild or severe, acute or
chronic. Exposing sensitive skin areas, like the eyelids, to highly concentrated epoxy
vapors may cause itching and swelling. Epoxy clays all have fumes or vapors, some much
stronger than others, so avoid inhaling those for long periods of time as they can irritate
your respiratory tract. Your immune system and the degree and frequency of exposure to epoxy affects your chance of becoming sensitized. You may become sensitized to epoxy after many
exposures or just one. It could take days, months, or even years. You can be more susceptible
if you have fair skin, if you’ve already been exposed to other sensitizing substances,
or if you have hay fever, other allergies or are under stress. Certain medications can
also make you more susceptible. If you are on any kind of medication long or short term
it’s a good idea to check the medication papers for sensitive skin warnings while on it and
take note when using your art materials. Epoxy resins today are largely petroleum derived.
Epoxy resins may be chemically reacted either with themselves, or with a wide range of co-reactants
often referred to as hardeners or curatives. This means that epoxy products usually come
in two parts, one of which is the hardener. When combined, a chemical reaction happens
that starts the hardening process, commonly referred to as curing. There are many different
options for these hardeners and there are hundreds of ways that epoxies can be modified
by adding things like thickeners and accelerators. This explains the wide range of different
epoxy products and the variation in toxicity among them. Epoxies have a wide range of applications,
including metal coatings, use in electronics and structural adhesives. People working with
hazardous epoxy products wear full face masks with gas filters and have to be completely
covered to avoid contact with their skin. Mouldable/Solid epoxy resins like the ones
I use are generally safer than liquid epoxy resins, and many are classified as non-hazardous materials. But just because something is classified as non-hazardous, does not mean it is 100% harmless. You can still be allergic to it, like latex or peanuts.
Don’t use latex if you’re allergic to it. Don’t eat peanuts if you’re allergic to them. Be sure to read and follow package directions, companies list them for a reason. Both the epoxy resin and
the hardener can cause a skin reaction called contact dermatitis. If left untreated for long periods it can progress to eczema, which can include swelling, blisters and itching.
Partially cured epoxy sanding dust, if allowed to settle on the skin, can also lead to dermatitis.
Discontinue use if this occurs. Sources say fewer than 2% of epoxy users are likely to
get contact dermatitis. Other sources say 5%. Others say less than 10%. This is why
it’s so very important to read and follow the package directions. If your condition
is severe, you can never work with epoxy products again. And epoxy resin is not just in the
clay and the liquids we know of. It’s in some glues and paints too. An allergy like
that can greatly impact your artistic options. There is no specific antidote for epoxy sensitization,
but symptoms can sometimes be treated with medicine. Once sensitized, additional and
sometimes increasingly severe reactions become likely upon future exposures, even to tiny
amounts of epoxy. Discontinue use if you have or suspect a reaction, switching brands will not solve that allergy issue,
epoxy resins are generic in this regard. Lastly, I want
to make you aware of the fact that every country has different regulations for manufacturers
to follow, from packaging requirements to safety data sheet information. Safety and health regulations in the European Union are strict, while the United States is negligent
with laws and enforcing it. Besides that, not all companies follow rules and regulations.
Some don’t use laboratories at all. For example, the packaging of a bad product will state
911 as an emergency contact. But this not an emergency contact for materials. You should
call the poison control center. What I am trying to say with this, is that it’s always a good idea to buy your products from reputable brands that have been around for a while. And brands selling worldwide have to be compliant to the strictest regulations, which is a good thing. After reading through all these various brands of epoxy, the majority of the Safety
Data Sheets state something to the effect of; It is the user’s responsibility to determine
the suitability and completeness of this information for his own particular use. All materials
may present unknown hazards and should be used with caution. Although certain hazards
are described herein, we cannot guarantee that these are the only hazards that exist. Because epoxy products are being used in many professions for many decades now, there has
been a lot of research done about health implications surrounding epoxy. I have left some sources
in the description box, including at the top a very useful guide to skin protection when
working with epoxy products. You may think this is all very exaggerated. I understand,
that’s what I used to think. My main point is that many of our art materials contain
chemicals and should be handled with caution. So, don’t give others the advice that being
careless with chemicals is no big deal. My Apoxie Sculpt packaging says to wear
gloves when mixing both parts, so that’s what I’ll do. And after all this research I’ll probably keep them on
while sculpting too, for as long as I can. Washing your hands often and thus
also when you finish sculpting your epoxy clay, is equally important. Ventilate
when you need to. And invest in a good respirator if you are going to be sanding or spraying
anything more than occasionally. And some goggles to go along with it to protect your
eyes. Buy a respirator from a company you believe
will be around for a long time, so you can keep buying new filters for it. There are filters specifically for fumes and vapors
and ones for dust and particles. A combination of both also exists. What you want to look
for is called a half mask respirator. To end this video, I’ll say this: Use common sense.
The more informed you are about the products you use, the better off you’ll be. I said it before and I’ll say it again: just because you use epoxy clay in a careless manner,
does not mean you will for sure develop an allergy over time. But your health and safety are in your own hands. Thanks for watching and I hope you’ll
check out some of my other videos. My previous video explains how to work with
epoxy clay and why I prefer it over polymer clay for doll making. If you’re interested in buying one of my dolls,
please check out my website. Link in the description. Hope to see you around. Bye.

6 Replies to “EPOXY CLAY SAFETY | Should you wear gloves? Risk of skin sensitisation & allergic contact dermatitis”

  1. Please share this with anyone that can benefit from it! ❤ The awareness I’m trying to raise with this video applies to other chemical art products too! There are so many videos on Youtube of people mixing epoxy clay with their bare hands. We trust people that we consider to be professional artists to know what they’re doing, but this is just not always the case. Remember that you can usually contact the company that made your product if you have any concerns. Instead of asking random people on the internet. Please leave a like and why not subscribe? ❤ 🙂 I have bloopers of my last 2 videos coming up next and I plan to make many more videos about materials and sculpting – and also doll related videos of course!

  2. Thank you for making an in-depth video like this! I don't personally work w epoxy, but I have wanted to use liquid epoxy resin for cup and tumbler sealing. I've been avoiding it because I already accidentally sensitized myself to nickel earlier this year and honestly don't think I'll be able to use epoxy without strict personal safety gear. It saddens me to see most videos do not promote safe usage of such products. As you said, ofc not everyone will end up becoming sensitized, but having the proper safety information is important and I do believe it is a responsibility of content creators to inform their audience (though I understand not even they may always realize there is a risk and everyone is ultimately responsible for taking charge of their own health).

    Anywho, sorry that was so long! I just really appreciate well researched topics 🙂

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