Caution, it causes cancer!!

Alexvi

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I just wanted to put this out there to some of the people who are new to doing fiberglass work. I use to work at a surfshop (Haut) here in Santa Cruz back in the day (80s), and I recently spent a year restoring my current boat. Acetone, Styrene, fiberglass, gelcoat, laminating resin, MEK, epoxy, 5200, 4200.... All these chemicals are really bad for your health, and you should do everything you can to avoid breathing and making skin contact. I tend to get lazy and not wear my respirator, gloves, or dust mask on small "5-minute" jobs. I also tend to work in shorts and t-shirts, not good.

I have 4 friends that have died from cancer that were in the surfboard industry. These were the hardcore guys that did fiberglass work, and use to do stuff like washed their hands in acetone.

My 2 cents here is to be careful with your exposure, and don't create toxic nightmare around your house. I'm totally guilty and I'm the first to admit it.

Oh, and don't drink Vodka and Gingerale when glassing, you'll pass out ;-)

vodka and glassing.jpg
 
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cbadcrew

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Well there’s the problem right at 4 o’clock A BIG BLACK CAT!!!
At least you didn’t fall on the Vodka & Ginger ale

Good report on how to work with those chems, if just one huffer gets this message you’ve paid it forward.......
 
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undone

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While not good for you, I'd say it's probably not as bad as many other things.

I've been in the industry for 45+ years, this pre-dates anyone wearing any kind of protection, you bathed in acetone, worked inside confined spaces with chopper guns, didn't wear dust masks when grinding, and this went on day after day for decades. What I noticed was that very few people had any issues related to working with the chemicals or grinding dust, it was the drugs and alcohol that got them. Again I'm not saying they're harmless, only that it seems other lifestyle choices created far more problems. The industries I was in exposed a worker to far more of the potentially harmful conditions than building surfboards will.

The studies done on styrene indicate that they can't find any long term health issues related to exposure. California listed it as a potential carcinogen not because they could link it to cancer, but because other solvents may cause cancer so it was possible styrene may too. (styrene is the solvent you smell in polyester resin)
 
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wils

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The studies done on styrene indicate that they can't find any long term health issues related to exposure. California listed it as a potential carcinogen not because they could link it to cancer, but because other solvents may cause cancer so it was possible styrene may too.

so....basically.....simply living in California will kill ya. but then again...death is the only guarantee that we ALL are born with.
 
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stairman

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vodka and ginger ale???
what kind of cancer did they have and where did they surf alot?
 
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pastdue

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Getting out of the army and taking a trade school was my thing I chose auto body repair because it smells like a surf shop I was young and dumb but anyway whenever we got a bad cut lacquer thinner seem to really heal it up fast
 
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undone

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Epoxy is a bigger issue, it can be very harmful, even at very low exposure levels. People frequently relate odor to toxicity, and since epoxy has a very low odor compared to polyester they think polyester is extremely hazardous and epoxy is safe.
 
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c-goat

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Silicosis is a big OSHA thing right now in the construction industry.Some jobs I work on will not allow roto hammering of concrete decks with out vac attachment.
 
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kindafishy

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Silicosis is a big OSHA thing right now in the construction industry.Some jobs I work on will not allow roto hammering of concrete decks with out vac attachment.

you can thank the lobbyist's that represent the maker of the vac. attachments. everything that happens in this world is all about $$$.
 
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Alexvi

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vodka and ginger ale???
what kind of cancer did they have and where did they surf alot?

Brain cancer. They surfed here in the Monterey Bay.

This was a surfboard factory producing a lot of boards. This wasn't some backyard operation. It's like smoking cigarettes, some people will say... I've smoked and drank for 45 years, I'm fine. Some people are lucky, that doesn't mean it's not bad for you.
 
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undone

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How many drums of resin did they go through in a day, we used many, and the resin was sprayed, so it was thick in the air, it's still done this way today, only with a few better precautions. There were 800 employees at one boat builder near me and they were exposed like this every day for decades, cancer wasn't something more common in this group than the general public.

One study compared laminators in glass shops to employees in the electronics field, what they found was that laminators as a group were in better health long term. They used the electronics field as a control because it was considered a rather safe field to work in.

An early study on mice had two groups, the control group and the styrene exposed group, all the mice in the control group died first, they threw out that study and started over. At very high exposure levels they could get tumors to grow on rats, plus a couple other issues, but these levels were far higher than what any person would see in the work place.


Again, I'm not saying these chemicals are good for you, just not as bad as some may think. Stopping smoking, drinking, and eating junk food, plus losing weight would probably be far better.
 
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Alexvi

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Undone

You can bath in it and make all the claims you want. I don't want to dispute this with you. I don't know anyone in the industry that wakes up stoked to go to work and expose themselves to the chemicals.

My point is; avoid it if you can, and if you can't, be careful.
 
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?? fisherman

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I'm with Alex..... I worked in this field for a short time doing surfboards and high end sail boards...... thankfully I didn't stick around long in this business.

I've had numerous friends who did and do work just in this field of surfboard glassing, and I can say with certainty, this stuff without question will take it's toll.

You can quote all the studies you want, but when you watch firsthand a lot of friends who have been working in this environment, and see the effects it has caused.....well, enough said.

Guess we can all just believe what we want :)

The unknown fisherman:p:
 
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undone

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I've followed the studies closely because I've been deep in the industry for so long, like everyone else I'm concerned for my health and the health of others. And again, as I've said in every post, I'm not saying they're not a problem, only that if someone is really concerned they should change other aspects of their life too.

How you feel about the subject from short term experience in the industry and a very small amount of anecdotal evidence doesn't exactly line up with more in depth studies over several decades.

Surfboard shops are a very small and low volume segment of the industry, and the people tend to have certain lifestyle characteristics that may not be the healthiest to start with.

It also makes a huge difference if you build with polyester or epoxy, with epoxy being far worse.
 
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undone

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One of the issues the industry is battling is that the workforce is aging out, all that's left is old farts like me. We aren't dying off, we've been in the industry for decades and are getting close to retiring, but there aren't people eager to jump into the industry when they're young to take our place.

It's a stinky messy job at times, not something a better educated young demographic would find rewarding. And it's with good reason, I would probably pick something else if I were to do it over.
 
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stairman

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Brain cancer. They surfed here in the Monterey Bay.

This was a surfboard factory producing a lot of boards. This wasn't some backyard operation. It's like smoking cigarettes, some people will say... I've smoked and drank for 45 years, I'm fine. Some people are lucky, that doesn't mean it's not bad for you.

ah ha...then it was the cheap vodka made in continuous still where they dont throw the heads and foreshots out ....or did they inhale other stuff regularly?
 
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Alexvi

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ah ha...then it was the cheap vodka made in continuous still where they dont throw the heads and foreshots out ....or did they inhale other stuff regularly?

These were clean living guys that loved the ocean, they were family guys that did what they had to do to put food on the table.

Ciroc Vodka ain't cheap ;-)
 
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Alexvi

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Undone, I think it's only fair to point out that you have a vested interest in downplaying my cautionary comment that I started this thread with. You were a sales guy for CCP Composites and now work for Hawkeye Industries.

"Manufacturer and distributor of gel coats, composites resins and industrial cleaners."

I was wondering who in their right mind would be downplaying exposure to these chemicals, and try to draw an equivalence to lifestyle choices as a comparison.

Even worse, acting like an authority on the subject with your weak non-conclusive studies.

I stand with the guys that do the work, not some sales guy sitting in an office trying to make his sales quota.








 
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marlyn

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    We should have a list of what doesnt cause cancer,it would be shorter.
    Its high time we quit worrying about what causes cancer and focus on what cures it,Fuck Cancer!
     
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    undone

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    I don't work there anymore, CCP doesn't exist now.

    Yes, I work in the industry, but I have far more concern for my own health than for any company, that's why I followed the studies on health so closely. It's also why I can say that my experience in the industry lines up pretty well with the research. In that while it's a very stinky, sticky, messy, dusty, itchy job, the health concerns don't appear to be as bad as one would think from looking at the typical shop.

    The odor (PPM) allowed by OSHA in the workplace can be extremely irritating to someone not accustomed to the smell, it would drive most people out of the room. This actually helps with the health aspect because people don't like being around polyester resin, so they tend to open the doors and use fans to ventilate the fumes, then leave the area as soon as possible.

    Styrene can be detected by your nose at about 3 parts per million, depending on the plant's location (State and city) the limits for an 8 hour exposure are from 50-100 PPM, so you can detect it at levels far below what is considered "safe" in the workplace. I'm not sure "safe" is the correct term, because zero exposure is I'm sure much better.

    What frequently happens is that when a person does a small repair they start to freak out about being exposed a product with such a noxious odor, smelling that bad it must be extremely toxic. They think they'll come down with some dreaded disease by the next week. So the next time they use epoxy thinking it's a much safer choice, when in fact epoxy can be far more toxic even in very low levels of exposure.

    I've worn air quality monitoring equipment while laminating for research purposes and OSHA testing. The people doing the work were a bit surprised at how low the exposure levels actually were when compared to the odor they experienced from being in the room for short periods of time while changing the filter elements in the monitoring equipment (they pull out the filter after a certain period of time and check for the styrene levels during the shift).

    I'll say it again, I don't think these products are good for you, and exposure should be kept to a minimum, but smoking, drinking, drugs, junk food, obesity and many other lifestyle choices have documented and frequently diagnosed harmful effects. Styrene has been studied for decades because it's in so many every day items and used in the production of most plastics, the polyester resin industry is a very small segment of the styrene used in the world. Europe has done a great deal of long term styrene exposure studies in the workplace and so far they can't really detect any long term health effects, I'm sure there are some though. These studies covered many thousands of workers for decades.
     
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    sealskinner

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    WOW. I spent 35 years spraying laquer and in the laquer thinner.
    Somebody tell me that was good for me.
     
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    BiggestT

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    I've read that at any given time, everyone of us has cancerous cells in our body. It's just a matter of whether your immune system is keeping them at bay.
     
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