Although epoxy flooring is a durable, spill proof alternative to concrete floors in Houston and a beautiful way to make your business or home come to life, there are some health hazards associated with its installation. At Prepco Flooring LLC., we properly train all of our employees to avoid the health hazards associated with epoxy resin so that they can stay safe while installing epoxy floors in Houston, Texas. There are some safety tips to consider if you will be installing or overseeing an installation of epoxy flooring.
Before considering what to do to stay safe from epoxy resin, we will discuss some of the ways that it can be harmful to your health. Keep in mind that once the epoxy dries, it is not toxic unless there is an abrasion or the resin is burned. The only time you should be very concerned about health hazards is when the epoxy is still wet. Before epoxy is hardened, there are still monomers (single molecules) of the epoxy and curing agent. These are the items within the resin that are harmful. As epoxy dries, the molecules bond to form polymers that are almost completely non-toxic. The molecules generally come separately and are combined just before the epoxy resin is applied. This is when the curing agent, as well as the epoxy, are at their most toxic (because these can evaporate and become part of the air that you breathe).
If you are working with epoxies in your workplace, your employer must provide information on how to stay safe from epoxy exposure as well as an MSDS sheet. Epoxy resin can enter and harm the body through the skin, eyes, nose, throat and lungs. If epoxy evaporates during the mixing process, it can easily be breathed in through the mouth or nose. This will ultimately affect the lungs. Some symptoms you may experience are chest tightness or trouble breathing. Before you notice an effect in the lungs, the curing agent or epoxy may cause the eyes, nose or throat to sting or burn upon contact. To prevent these things, you should wear proper eye protection as well as a mask covering the nose and mouth. This will prevent any epoxy or curing agent that may have evaporated from entering your body through these routes.
Another major problem area associated with epoxy resin is contact with skin. If your skin comes into contact with a curing agent or epoxy resin, it may cause irritation such as itching, redness and swelling. If contact persists for long enough, or if the person has an allergy to the epoxy or curing agent, they may develop more serious skin lesions such as blisters. If you suspect your skin has come into contact with epoxy resin or curing agent, immediately wash with soap and water. If the redness or itchiness persists or you see signs of blisters, contact your doctor as soon as possible. To prevent contact with skin, wear appropriate clothing such as long sleeve and long pants. It is also very important to cover the hands with gloves that overlap the sleeves on your shirt. These are easy ways to prevent your skin from coming into contact with epoxy or curing agent that may have entered the air.
Working with epoxy resin and curing agents is often a job best left to the professionals. Here at Prepco Flooring, LLC., we have trained professionals to handle these materials in a way that keeps everyone safe. If you are interested in epoxy floors in Houston, please give us a call!