We build homes and finish our trim and base on site. The usual schedule included spraying two coats of Magnamax on our trim, base, and interior doors. We do not have a spray booth, so we typically set up in the largest room in the house, open a few windows, throw on our masks, and spray away. Are we playing with fire here... literally? I have read quite a few posts about spark-free fans used in spray booths. Where could I find some of these for a reasonable price? We usually spray for a maximum of two hours and then leave the house for lunch or for the day so that it can air out.
From contributor R:
I think you might be flirting with disaster. Please get yourself a fan that not only has a non-sparking blade, but that has a fully enclosed motor as well. These fans are made for using in a hazardous location and can be purchased at a tool supply house like WW Grainger.
One other thought; just like riding a motorcycle, you may be driving perfectly safe. It's the other guy that is going to get you. Never assume that other people are going to heed your 'no smoking' or 'do not enter' signs.
I second the call to be safe!
Waterborne sounds like the perfect solution to your problem. They won't give you quite the same performance as Magnamax, but will be more than acceptable for your application.
I agree whole heartedly that air flow is critical, but you have to realize that a living room is not a spraybooth. You can have corners with pockets of vapor that can be intense enough to ignite. Let's also look at the fact that there are also flammable liquids and wet mouldings laying around. Do you have a fire extinguisher available and do you think it's big enough to put out what could potentially be on fire?
I think the final perspective on all of this is the effect on your health. Do you change your respirator cartridges every day? Do you realize that your skin is your body's largest organ and that you can absorb considerable amounts of solvent vapor through your skin and eyes? What would you do if a year from now an employee develops a cough? Do you think your safety precautions would be sufficient to protect you in a lawsuit? Do you carry enough insurance to cover the structure you are working in? Does your insurance company know what you are doing? If not, they may not pay a claim even though you are paying the premium.
Hey - I don't mean to go nuts here, but after all, it is a business; your life and your livelihood. A smart business person looks at the risks as well as the profits. For years my company specialized in the restoration of historically significant buildings. I did extensive safety research through insurance companies and organizations such as Underwriters Laboratories before I exposed myself to potentially millions of dollars of liability. The most important thing I learned is that you never underestimate your potential for disaster.
Waterborne... it's a good thing.
Again, thank you for all of your help. Your posts will result in major process changes in my company.
I have to tell you that I probably wouldn't get on my soapbox if I didn't have the experiences that I have. We had tens of thousands of dollars invested in our explosion-proof ventilation systems, air supplied respirators, fire suppression equipment and safety training; yet at the end of every job, I joked that "we lived through another one." One day I saw a picture in the newspaper of two painters standing on the ledge of a 12 story building with flames shooting out of the window next to them. I told myself that this could have been me, and I haven't finished on-site since.
I wouldn't want to be breathing that. Now, if they were spraying and waiting for a couple of days, it wouldn't be as bad, but most products with formaldehyde still off-gas for 30 days.
Don't assume, since you're working with water based finishes, that there are no health hazards either.
My only gripe about the 2kPU is the isocyanates used in the hardener. Haven't had a chance to check out a 2k WB poly yet, but I am sure I will look at an MSDS soon, now that this is in my brain.
Isocyanates are compounds containing the isocyanate group (-NCO). They react with compounds containing alcohol (hydroxyl) groups to produce polyurethane polymers, which are components of polyurethane foams, thermoplastic elastomers, spandex fibers, and polyurethane paints. Isocyanates are the raw materials all polyurethane products are made of. Jobs that may involve exposure to isocyanates include painting, foam-blowing, and the manufacture of many products, such as chemicals, polyurethane foam, insulation materials, surface coatings, car seats, furniture, foam mattresses, under-carpet padding, packaging materials, shoes, laminated fabrics, polyurethane rubber, adhesives, and other polyurethane products.
Health effects of isocyanate exposure include irritation of skin and mucous membranes, chest tightness, and difficult breathing. Isocyanates are classified as potential human carcinogens and are known to cause cancer in animals. The main effects of overexposure are occupational asthma and other lung problems, as well as irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin.
The Europeans have historically looked at formaldehyde as the real bad guy and isocyanates as a harmless byproduct. Only now are they having second thoughts as more of the people who are exposed to it long term seem to be developing reactions to it.
Let's face it - none of it is good for you. Health problems can show up years after exposure. We have to teach people to protect themselves and encourage/demand manufacturers make products safer. It isn't easy, comfortable or cheap, but it is our responsibility. Rather idealistic, I know, but we have come a long way... a long journey is still ahead.
Most of the products I have meet the E-1 standards and are HAPS free or low HAPS, but we still choose to report. And with the compliance reports I do for my customers, the formaldehyde is listed. For some of my bigger customers that buy 20,000+ gallons a year, it makes a big difference.
Set up your spray area close to a back door and set up a fan at the front door blowing into the house only. The fan should be at least 1400 cfm. We made a narrow plywood box on castors and installed two furnace type fans which work great.
We only spray onsite with Air Assist Kremlin and we do not thin our products with lacquer thinners - we spray out of the can.
We just sprayed onsite in a museum with our Kremlin, with no ventilation available, using a pre-cat lacquer.
We had No Fog Cloud after spraying like we used to have with Binks Mach 1 HVLP. HV means High Volume of air and Air Assist is a whisper compared to my old system.
Comment from contributor A:
With regard to M.L. Campbell or any other acid cured product and formaldehyde, keep in mind we're talking about two different things here.
There is container formaldehyde, which is "in" the product. Typically it is a very small part of a resin that may be a small part of the formulation. This is what is reportable/not reportable depending on the amount contained.
Free weight formaldehyde on the other hand is the formaldehyde that is off-gassed during cross-linking. Think vinegar and baking soda. You mix the two together and you get CO2. In this case the reaction is releasing formaldehyde. That is the formaldehyde that is concerned with E1 regulations.
E1 doesn't have anything to do with amount of formaldehyde, so much as amount released/period of time. A coating can be E1 and release more formaldehyde than an E2 or above product.
Let me explain. Take a cup and poke a hole in the bottom. Now pour water in very slowly. If the water is poured into the cup slower than it runs through the hole, the cup will never over-flow. Now increase the rate of your pour. Once your pour is faster than your hole can let the liquid through, you'll over-flow.
If I spray a board, the solvents evaporate and the cross-linking begins. Free weight formaldehyde is being released from the reaction. If it is released slowly enough so that it can dissipate before if hits you in the nose and eyes, you're not going to get that fun red burning sensation. If it releases formaldehyde quicker than the environment allows for its dissipation, exposure will be noticed.
Product A releases X formaldehyde.
Product B releases 1.5X formaldehyde. (66% more)
If A releases its formaldehyde over 1 week and B over 30 days, B is going to rank better on the E-scale. It is not simply about quantity.
The biting an apple thing is disingenuous and not at all accurate. If we're talking about the tiny bit of formaldehyde contained in the pail when you buy it, it's not so bad, but when we're discussing the actual issue, it's a very poor and misleading example.