Originally Posted by jimfulco
Fast Orange and Goop/GoJo irritate my hands sorta like poison ivy, so I use WD-40.
About 10 years ago there was one of those "urban legend" things got started here about WD40 and Arthritis, seems someone came up with the idea that rubbing WD40 on stiff swollen joints would bring relief (I suppose they figured if it would loosen up a rusty metal hinge why not finger joints?
). Well what happened was several people got very sick from doing this by rubbing the stuff on multiple parts of their bodies. There was quite an uproar over it with several newspaper articles written about the dangers of doing this. Seems that the very same properties of the stuff that make it penetrate rust so well will also make it easily penetrate the skin. Most people tend to think of WD40 as a lubricant but it is not, it is a very powerful solvent that will be readily absorbed through your skin and into your bloodstream. One doctor who had treated several of these people explained in one of the newspaper articles that once absorbed this solvent will travel to all parts of your body and can damage various organs but the liver is especially susceptible. He said that when absorbed over large areas of the body the short term effects would be kidney damage and one of those $10 words I can't recall that was used to describe a blood disorder that could also result, he went on to say that even small exposures over time could lead to liver damage. This is not to say that WD40 is dangerous, it is not when used for the purpose it is meant for but just as with any other solvent don't rub it on your skin and limit exposure to the the very minimum. I would strongly discourage anyone from using WD40 as a hand cleaner, it is not meant to be used for this purpose and apparently can be dangerous to do so.
The argument then, as it probably will be now, for the safety of doing this was to point at the low toxicity of the product as determined by the MSDS and it is true that WD40 is a relatively safe product as far as being only a mild toxin and no one should worry about it's normal use, BUT! As was pointed out then the exposure when intentionally rubbed on the skin is far in excess of any testing done except for the LD50 ratings (The size of the dose that would be lethal in 50% of cases) so the MSDS means very little when exposure is this great.
You list Fast Orange, Goop and GoJo together but Fast Orange is different than the other two. While Goop and GoJo are well known for causing the problems you described (I know first hand about that!) the Fast Orange contains Lanolin that will condition the skin and no harsh solvents, I have been told but do not know for a fact, that GoJo contains kerosene. Have you tried the smooth formula Fast Orange? The pumice formula will cause some problems and is the reason I switched to the smooth type which actually helped my hands heal, this stuff is almost as good as a hand lotion.