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  1. Ogait-Nas's Avatar
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    Jan 26, 2010, 4:46 PM - Is there a doctor in the room? Breathing toxic dust #1

    Hello,

    as most of you did sometime in the past, I have sanded body filler and plastic to scratch build props and make my armor. Yesterday I was really surounded by the body filler dust that comes from the piece I was sanding. I wore a mask like this one all the time so I think I'm safe. But when I'm working on the props I can smell the dust... and not only yesterday but every single day I've been doing something similar I smelled the typical body filler smell that it has when it is sanded down. I think the mask protects me from the main danger but not all... and my father is worried about this. He says I'm exposed to a unnecessary risk and he insists: I must stop working on armors and Star Wars costumes that have to be sanded and produce such amount of toxic dust.

    I took some time to think about it and now I'm worried he may be right... so my question is how dangerous can be this hobby? Can any doctor say if I can get cancer or something that bad if I keep doing this? If so I'd go for a lung and throat x-ray revision.

    Oh, I don't smoke nor drink alcohol and I don't have any sympthoms at this moment... but you know, I prefer to be cautious and don't ruin my life for a hobby... (but I love it!)

    Thank you in advance.
    Last edited by Ogait-Nas; Feb 23, 2010 at 8:00 AM.
  2. Member Since
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    Jan 26, 2010, 5:00 PM - Re: Is there a doctor in the room? Smelling toxic dust #2

    the styrene fumes eg polyester resin - are prob the most dangerous and are said to cos cancer.
    once its set, I think that there is less danger from that point of view. but any dust can potentially cos harm to your lungs, even if its not a cancerour type disease. there are also vunerable mucosal layers - like in your eye, mouth and of course your skin in the form of allergies.

    I used a similiar mask. and change the filters often.
    I also only work outdoors, and have a complete set of clothes just for working with bondo, fibreglass etc.
    When I finish - I usual take a bath as well - to get rid of all the remnant dust in hair, skin, socks etc.
    if I could - I would instal a extractor fan in my shop
    I also have a make do fume cupboard - its basically a big box withclear plastic sheets on its sides to see in and a hole to put a vacuum cleaner hose in when I am sanding

    I realise that this is probably a bit over the top, but like you, I love this hobby and am also a bit paranoid!
    better safe than sorry!

    Nate
  3. Ogait-Nas's Avatar
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    Jan 26, 2010, 5:13 PM - Re: Is there a doctor in the room? Smelling toxic dust #3

    Polyester resin is dangerous too? Oh dear, oh dear...

    And like you, I only work outdoors and I change my clothes after working with bondo...

    Really, I will finish my clone armor and that's all. I bought a new clone kit to make a better armor but I'm going to sell it just to avoid this problems... yes, I'm getting paranoid with this topic too

    Thank you so much for your comment!!
  4. Peregrinus's Avatar
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    Jan 27, 2010, 1:31 AM - Re: Is there a doctor in the room? Smelling toxic dust #4

    I wet-sand whenever possible to keep the dust down.

    My biggest worry is the buildup of paint fumes after I've done painting and the painted items are set aside to cure. It's hard to get enough ventilation without it getting so cold it interferes wiht the paint curing properly.

    --Jonah
  5. fettpride's Avatar
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    Jan 27, 2010, 7:43 AM - Re: Is there a doctor in the room? Smelling toxic dust #5

    It's all toxic. There is nothing you can do to block 100% of any of it. You can only do the best you can do when taking precautions.
    But I would like to mention, that fiberglass (styrene monomers) is toxic even when cured. If you can smell the lovely smell, your
    getting your fair share. But what's worse, are the particulates. When you sand body filler ( it has glass micro ballons) and fiberglass,
    if you don't wear proper protective gear you're getting microscopic pieces of "glass" in your lungs. Some may never get cancer from it.
    My grandfather worked in a Fiberglass mill for 20 years when they didn't have laws about personal protection vs. employers. He did
    develop lung cancer, but when he was 88 and it may be related to his smoking 3 packs of cigarettes a day It's all about pre-disposition
    I think personally. Granted, it's not healthy by any means. It will cause issues down the road. If not cancer, it will be other disorders
    like COPD, or Emphysema. Either way, it would be a miserable existence indeed.

    I was personally an idiot when I started glassing many years ago. For a number of years I wore nothing. And I smoked. If anyone has
    to worry, that would be me, and others that have been just as reckless. At least you've been wearing protection. So rest easy, and
    don't over do it

    Best,

    Chris
  6. Ogait-Nas's Avatar
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    Jan 27, 2010, 8:24 AM - Re: Is there a doctor in the room? Smelling toxic dust #6

    Thank you fettpride You say that the fiberglass resin is cured it's still harmful ... but what about white resin (the one used in rotocast castings)? Do you know if it is harmful too?
  7. fettpride's Avatar
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    Jan 27, 2010, 9:02 AM - Re: Is there a doctor in the room? Smelling toxic dust #7

    Absolutely. Urethane is really bad news in an entirely different way. First and foremost, keep your face away from urethane when it's "kicking". You may see a light smoke at times
    when urethane is getting hot. That smoke will kill the lining of your lungs, period. If you can smell the white urethane during this stages, get away from it.

    When it's cured it's not as bad, but equally as harmful as fiberglass. Cured grinding dust affects the mucosa of the airways and lungs.

    People sometimes don't understand why prop makers charge what they charge for their props. It may not necessarily all be about their artistry, or skills. It's a hazardous
    hobby/business. And I think that people often fail to acknowledge the realities of these dangers. Perhaps a thread like this will put some perspective to it all

    Chris
  8. Jaymay023's Avatar
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    Jan 27, 2010, 9:19 AM - Re: Is there a doctor in the room? Smelling toxic dust #8

    I use a chemical respirator while bondo and resining my pieces, while sanding I use the same one. I currently use this kinda of filter. I put the thing on even before I start mixing the resin or bondo. Can't smell anything but nice clean air. If I take off the respirator I can always smell the resin fumes bondo or dust on my clothes and all over. What would be really great is this one

    I find that the dust gets in my eyes especially when working outside. Is your filter just a dust filter or does it do chemical filtering as well?

    Hope this helps.
  9. Member Since
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    Jan 27, 2010, 11:46 PM - Re: Is there a doctor in the room? Smelling toxic dust #9

    a great way to tell if your respirator is not working, is if you can smell anything, then you have a problem, now that isnt a sure fire way to know, but its a great indicator that something is wrong.
  10. Ogait-Nas's Avatar
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    Jan 30, 2010, 1:26 AM - Re: Is there a doctor in the room? Smelling toxic dust #10

    Thank you for all your answers. I bought a new respirator. It has filters to protect me from organic fumes, so that I'll be safe when working with plastic (styrene) and resin+fiberglass (polyester). I'm not sure what kind of filter had my old mask... perhaps that was the problem.

    I bought some one-time-use overalls as well to ensure myself I'm not carrying any monomer with me! (monomers are evil! :P)

    This is me in my new working outfit:






    Thank you again guys!
  11. Nau'ur Baatir's Avatar
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    Jan 30, 2010, 4:53 AM - Re: Is there a doctor in the room? Smelling toxic dust #11

    That, sir, is one sexy costuming outfit.
  12. HeadlessHunter's Avatar
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    Jan 30, 2010, 5:53 AM - Re: Is there a doctor in the room? Smelling toxic dust #12

    I think people need to be sensible when it comes to protecting themselves and others from harmful fumes, when I first started I didn't really wear much in the way of protective gear, I did all my painting outside so fumes weren't an issue, but when I started working with Bondo/Isopon p38 that's when I realised this stuff could be very bad if breathed in, take the advice given on packaging and such, use these products in a WELL VENTILATED area, and wear a mask, as Chris rightly points out you will never 100% protect yourself from everything but everything seems to be harmful to ones health these days anyway! So do as much as you can to help yourself, even basic safety glasses and a dust mask are way better than nothing at all!
  13. Member Since
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    Jan 30, 2010, 11:23 AM - Re: Is there a doctor in the room? Smelling toxic dust #13

    nice suit man ;P
    vbelieve it or not, I got a similiar set up
    I do look a bit of a idiot at times, but I feel safer

    all that and I have a well-ventilated work space as well

    what me paranoid??? well just a little
  14. Member Since
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    Jan 30, 2010, 12:34 PM - Re: Is there a doctor in the room? Smelling toxic dust #14

    I've been using British Army NBC (Nuclear Biological Chemical) suits and an AVON S10 Respirator with a new filter canister every week while working with these materials, I can't smell anything while working and because the NBC suit hood clips over the full face masks lip my entire body except hands are safe from the micro glass particles and fibers etc. I picked a full box of 20 NBC suits sealed in vacuum tight packs unopened on ebay for 30 and the S10 respirator for 40 and get new sealed filter canisters for 10 a pop. The NBC suits are water resistant and charcoal lined too so the dust and stuff can't get through the material and at the end you can hose yourself down before removing mask and suit BUT be warned if you put an NBC suit in the washing machine the protective charcoal lining will be washed out and also may ruin your washing machine depending on the grade. These things are meant for warfare and extreme toxic gases etc so I'm certain it will help with sanding, prepping and finishing with the materials needed for props.

    Hope this helps in some small way.
    Oro
  15. Member Since
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    Feb 2, 2010, 7:23 PM - Re: Is there a doctor in the room? Smelling toxic dust #15

    In my investigations - I founds that all this is very important. But also makes a major impact on the cost of a scratch building.
    The masks alone arent cheap. Add to that the regular changes in the filters

    - S
  16. totallyice's Avatar
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    Feb 21, 2010, 10:24 AM - Re: Is there a doctor in the room? Smelling toxic dust #16

    Ogait-Nas said: View Post
    Thank you for all your answers. I bought a new respirator. It has filters to protect me from organic fumes, so that I'll be safe when working with plastic (styrene) and resin+fiberglass (polyester). I'm not sure what kind of filter had my old mask... perhaps that was the problem.

    I bought some one-time-use overalls as well to ensure myself I'm not carrying any monomer with me! (monomers are evil! :P)

    This is me in my new working outfit:






    Thank you again guys!



    If you can detect the smell, then particles are getting into your lungs. You must be VERY careful when working with this stuff. It can not only cause (in the long term) a particular type of lung cancer, it can also cause asthma, and quite often if you get too much in your lungs, respiratory arrest. The chemicals are a lot more dangerous than most people realize. Your suit definately looks good, but make sure whatever you are doing you have adequate ventilation. If you start getting dizzy, light-headed, or feelings of euphoria, get out of the room quickly into fresh air.
  17. Member Since
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    Feb 21, 2010, 9:58 PM - Re: Is there a doctor in the room? Smelling toxic dust #17

    Yea dude be careful. I was on a movie set and **** near went in to c/p arrest - not a fun thing. I know that personally I use Smooth-On and Alumilite products as they have a drastically less contamination risk. Even still, using the Smooth-On resin, Smooth-Cast 300, I was too close and w.o a mask trying to make a quick repair on a prop and it got me - I was on steroids for my lungs and heart, protein pills - it was hell. While now I do a lot of casting under and in front of exhaust fans pulling the air away from me, I still wear at minimum a mask and blue surgical gloves to make sure nothing gets through.

    As far as after the fact, when products are cured, that depends on how they cured and what you're doing with them. If you're eating it, yea, you're gonna get effed up. If you're sniffing the piece as it's just hardened and it's still hot - you're a moron who deserves what comes to them. But 24-36 hours after a cure, you should be fine. BUT - And this is important: After you pour your pieces, after they initially harder, move them outside if conditions permit so that when the resin cools and contracts, as the vapors are being pushed outward, they don't end up in your walls and ceiling. And again, either keep wearing the suit you have now, or just wear something like a medical bib made of a non-abrasive / anit bacterial material that you can literally hose off when you're done.

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