Adhesives are essential for a wide range of applications, from DIY projects to industrial manufacturing. However, some common adhesives may contain toxic chemicals that can pose health risks.
Here, we’ll discuss the harmful components found in everyday glues and share ways to minimize your exposure.
Formaldehyde is a common chemical used in various adhesives, particularly those found in wood products like plywood and particleboard. It is a known carcinogen and can cause respiratory and eye irritation when inhaled or irritation when in contact with the skin.
Safety Recommendation: Work in well-ventilated areas and use safety goggles and gloves to reduce exposure. A face shield and additional protective clothing may be necessary.
2. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Many adhesives contain VOCs, which are compounds that evaporate at room temperature and can release harmful vapours into the air. Exposure to high levels of VOCs can lead to headaches, dizziness, and respiratory issues. Examples of VOCs found in adhesives include benzene, toluene, and xylene.
Safety Recommendation: Work in an area with proper ventilation. Facemasks or respirators are also recommended.
Isocyanates are chemicals commonly found in polyurethane-based adhesives and can cause respiratory problems, skin irritation, and even asthma. These compounds can be particularly dangerous in poorly ventilated areas, where they can accumulate and increase the risk of exposure.
Safety Recommendation: Wear protective gear, such as gloves and masks, and ensure proper ventilation when working with polyurethane-based adhesives.
Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to increase flexibility in some adhesives, particularly those used in PVC products. They have been linked to reproductive and developmental issues, as well as endocrine disruption.
Safety Recommendation: Wear gloves and protective clothing and avoid getting the product anywhere near your mouth.
Always Follow the Manufacturer’s Safety Instructions
When working with adhesives, it is crucial to be aware of the potential health risks associated with the toxic chemicals they may contain. By following the safety recommendations provided for each chemical type, you can reduce the risk of exposure to toxic chemicals in adhesives and protect your health.
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