Is epoxy resin food safe?? – Everything you need to know
Working with epoxy resin offers a number of advantages. The material is extremely flexible. Can be applied in many areas. However, the resin also has some disadvantages. First and foremost, there are the health aspects to consider. In this guide, we will inform you about how food-safe epoxy resin really is and what you should bear in mind in this context.
Food-safe epoxy resin with test seal
If synthetic resin comes into contact with food or the skin over a long period of time, it is important to clarify in advance how food-safe epoxy resin actually is. This is e.g.B. the case at
Coatings for food tanks
Moulds that are used in the food industry (e.g., for the production of foodstuffs) are not suitable for use in the food industry. B. chocolate molds)
household item, z. B. fruit bowls or cutting boards
Furniture made of epoxy resin, especially epoxy tables
Interior coatings for ponds
Aquariums or terrariums
The good news beforehand: The EU uses its own test seal to indicate that the resin is safe for foodstuffs. For our examples above, there are specially developed products that carry this seal. However, any commercially available epoxy is also food-safe and therefore not dangerous if it comes into contact with food for a short time.
Tip: Only when resin is fully cured is it non-toxic in a corresponding product or. food safe. In the liquid state, epoxy resins are. Also the resulting vapors ALWAYS toxic! Therefore, you should strictly ensure that your skin does not come into contact with liquid resin.
Certification only for selected products
Only a few years ago, the various countries themselves determined which standards and country-specific certificates were necessary in order to be allowed to declare an epoxy resin as "food safe. After the introduction of the EU-uniform guidelines, many manufacturers of the casting resin have refrained from having their products tested again in order to obtain the seal of approval. This is partly because obtaining the seal involves quite a bit of effort. On the other hand, the approval is very expensive for the manufacturer. For this reason, only a few epoxy resins with the test seal are on the market. And these are correspondingly expensive.
Food grade – what does that actually mean exactly?
There is no precise definition of what makes a material a food grade material. However, some requirements must be met in any case. These include z. B. the food conformity requirements of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the German Federal Office for Risk Assessment and the requirements according to the regulation of the EU No. 10.2011.
In principle, a material is considered to be food-safe if it can come into direct contact with food without posing any health risks. This means
The material does not give off any taste or odor to the foodstuff
Human health is not endangered if food is consumed after contact with the material
The material does not release any or very few uncrosslinked components to the food
The composition of the food does not change due to contact with the material
In case of doubt, you should contact the manufacturer in advance to confirm the food-safety of his product. It is also important to carefully follow the manufacturer's recommended mixing ratio during processing in order to obtain the best possible quality of the resin.
Epoxy resin – toxic or non-toxic?
A basic statement as to whether Epoxy resin Now toxic or non-toxic cannot be met. This depends primarily on the chemical composition of the individual products. However, this may vary depending on the intended use. One casting resin may therefore be more harmful to health than another. Nevertheless, it is always important to protect yourself as much as possible when working with resin. Never touch the resin or hardener without protective gloves. You can protect yourself from the harmful fumes by wearing a respiratory mask. It is also advisable to use safety goggles to prevent resin splashes from accidentally getting into your eyes.
In essence, however, we can note two basic statements regarding the toxicity of epoxy resin:
Liquid epoxy resin is always toxic
When cured, the resin is non-toxic, but not always food safe
Inhalation of the resulting vapors should always be avoided. However, you must know that direct skin contact with the resin is even more harmful to health than the fumes, which are also toxic. In the meantime, some casting resins are made at least partly from natural ingredients. Nevertheless, these are also toxic when they are in the liquid state. In particular, be careful with the following ingredients:
Carbolic acid / Phenol
Today, carbolic acid is used in agriculture as a weedkiller. In rare cases, it is also used as a disinfectant at low doses. If it is used in very high doses, it is considered to be a nerve or. Cellular toxin and can cause chemical burns when it comes into contact with the skin.
Epichlorohydrin / prepolymers and diglycidyl ether:
These substances are known to cause allergic reactions when they come into direct contact with the skin. Non-treatable contact eczema is also possible. The effects when these two substances are combined are still unknown. If you are exposed to very high concentrations of epichlorohydrin or diglycidyl ether over a long period of time, it is suspected that they can be carcinogenic. Escaping vapors can also cause paralysis of the respiratory tract, irritation of the mucous membranes, or delirium. If you come into contact with the toxic substances very frequently and over a long period of time, nerve damage or kidney damage is also possible.
Tip: The products available on the market differ significantly in their toxicity. Products that are generally used by do-it-yourselfers and craftsmen are less of a concern than the so-called industrial product. This often contains significantly more toxic substances, because it can be amed that they are processed in the industry in isolated rooms with an extraction mechanism. At this point it becomes clear that in favor of health protection and quality, savings should not be made at the wrong end. Because the more harmful industrial product is much cheaper than the products for do-it-yourselfers.
How do I know how safe my epoxy is??
If you have any questions about food safety or toxicity of the resin you are using, it is best to contact the manufacturer directly. As a rule, the latter makes the safety data sheets of its products available on its website. You can read exactly how the ingredients of a particular casting resin are classified here. The hazardous material label is equally informative. In case of doubt, it is often worthwhile calling the company itself or. the customer hotline to clarify further questions.
The ASTM standard ASTM D4236 – 94 can also be an indication, provided the epoxy resin has an appropriate label.
Safety first – tips for occupational safety
– Resin and hardener contain toxic substances even if they have not yet been mixed together. Therefore, you should always make sure that none of the substances get direct skin contact. – After mixing the two components, a chemical reaction occurs that produces toxic fumes. An important protective measure to avoid inhaling them is the use of a respirator with A2 filter. Herewith you are protected against organic vapors and gases. – To protect your hands you should use nitrile gloves. Latex gloves are not sufficient for working with epoxy resin. – Wearing safety glasses is essential to protect your eyes from possible splashes. – A respiratory mask should also be used when sanding, sawing or drilling the hardened resin afterwards. The casting resin itself is non-toxic after hardening, but further processing can produce toxic dust which, like the vapors, should absolutely not be inhaled.
Tip: When working with epoxy resin, always make sure that the room you are working in is well ventilated. For your own safety, do not dispense with appropriate protective clothing even when continuing to work on the cured workpiece.
Early treatment of skin diseases
If you notice changes on your skin shortly after working with epoxy resin, you should not wait too long to see a doctor. If possible, the first way should lead you to a qualified dermatologist. If skin reactions triggered by harmful substances in the resin are not treated, they often become chronic. Skin symptoms can also occur when epoxy resin vapors are inhaled; skin contact is not necessary for this to occur. Each person reacts differently to the substances, so do not underestimate the toxicity, even if you show no symptoms when inhaling or direct skin contact.