Let's Talk About ISO's Dangers and Our Responsibity
I am in the process of designing (and building) an actual heated paint booth for motorcycles and other small parts to go along with my large booth that will be constructed next year. I have been studying OSHA standards on booths, as well as read quite a bit here, and there is one thing that is overlooked.
We all know ISO's are dangerous. I haven't even looked at a paint can without my fresh air respirator and full-face mask. I have a complete plastic, non-breathable suit, gloves, the whole system. I am not worried about my own safety; I have that covered.
A few days ago I walked out of my booth after an application of clear and seen this huge cloud drifting out from my exhaust fans. While I live in the country, a small subdivision recently popped up next door after a farmer sold out. This got me thinking.
What type of risk do we pose to our neighborhood painting without the proper equipment? This never seems to be discussed. Like a lot of you, I have been using furnace filters. They seem to catch all of the overspray (I have tested this), but we all know they do nothing for the ISO's. Am I risking the lives of everyone around me by painting without catching the ISO's? If you want to get technical (and I am all for that), at what level of dilution does ISO damage become negligible (such as parts per million)? While ISO damage to the body is slow, it does build-up and everyone has a different tolerance.
While my new, small booth will use real booth filters, I am asking this question for two reasons: I am still painting large objects/cars in my garage for about another year until my big booth is finished, and it is something that should be addressed by all of us in this hobby. It is much easier for us to self-regulate than be shut down by the government the first time some neighbor gets sick.
The link below from PPG talks a bit about ISO dangers and their prevention. While they mention air-dilution as an option, they do not give any specific numbers.
I believe this stuff is measured in ppm (parts per million) or some such thing. That being said, once it hits the outside air, it disperses, or breaks up into the surrounding atmosphere. Unless someone has their head in front of your exhaust fan, I doubt there will be any measurable disaster.
I have this "theory", that the most dangerous time handling 2 component materials is during the mixing process. I've seen guys (with no mask) standing over a quart can,....dumping in the hardener and stirring,.....with their nose directly above the container!!!!! At that point, the ppm is most likely at the greatest level.
All that being said, commercial booths usually only filter out the solids. The crap your filter collects. The fumes go right out the stack and into the air we all breath. Scarey. Stu
Many years ago I went to a Jon Kosmoski (House of Kolor founder, and urethane paint pioneer) how-to seminar. He said that the real danger is in breathing "atomized" materials, as happens when you are spraying. He specificlly said that there isn't serious risk just breathing the vapors while mixing.
I use a remote air mask, and have been painting for over 45 years, an am doing okay so far.
I would recommend solvent proof gloves when mixing, since you can absorb the "bad stuff" through your skin, and your liver and kidneys have to deal with that.
There is a large NEW collision repair center near me, and also right near a main road and residential area, you can smell the fumes when you drive by.
I don't think a hobbiest painting 2 or 3 cars a year poses a significant health risk to his neighbors. Unless the neighbor gets nosy and walks up to the exhaust fan while someone is spraying and takes a nice big whiff.
Like mentioned above, the fumes dispensed in the atmosphere very quickly.
Are you using the cheap blue filters? If so they will not trap much, switch to the more expensive better 3M pleated filters. IMHO the stuff you see exiting your filters is quite dispersed and of little concern to neighbors but you may have a problem if a neighbor sees what is going on and turns you in.
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