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Quite a few of the new readers have sent e-mails asking some pretty basic questions about health safety, so I thought it might be a good idea to get back to basics.
Your body is basically a large sponge that soaks up everything that nature has to offer and its pretty well prepared to deal with it. Unfortunately, its not very well suited to handle a lot of man made things that contain elements the body was never meant to deal with. Its pretty good at getting rid of a great deal of toxins, but there are many that the body can not get rid of and they just build up in various organs until the organ is damaged beyond repair and it fails. The most susceptible organs being the liver and kidneys because they both act as filters for the things the body brings in tough the digestive tract as well as through the skin, and the lungs because they filter out things that we inhale. The lungs are also very important to the body by transmitting oxygen into the blood stream. Any moist area of your body such as tear ducts in your eyes, the mucus membranes in your nose, and sweat glands throughout the body act as a door way, allowing all kinds of micro organisms, that are not visible to the human eye, free access to the body.
Solvent based paints are a big problem because of the solvents or reducers. The skin will soak up the solvent and transmit it through out the body fairly easily. If you would like to test this for yourself in a non-hazardous way, take a clove of garlic and split it open and rub it into the bottom of your foot. Eventually, you will taste the garlic in your mouth, some quicker than others. Solvents, over time, will damage the liver and kidneys. How long it takes depends on amounts and exposure times as well as body chemistry. This is why it’s a good idea to wear some form of protective gloves or some of the new chemical protective coatings that are on the market today.
The water that sites in the bottom of your air compressor is a breading ground for all kinds of micro organisms that get pumped right into your lungs; and last but certainly not least, some compressors produce carbon monoxide that you won’t realize is in your system until it’s too late. A good air supplied respirator system has a small oil-less air pump with 25 to 50 ft of hose that does not compress the air, it simply moves it through a well designed filtration system from an area that is outside the paint booth or far enough away from the area you are working in as to not pick up any of the bad stuff you are trying to avoid.
There are some new masks on the market that are designed for wood workers. They have a nice face shield that semi-seals to your face with a built in fan, which moves air in through a filter and then out of the mask. While they work great for their intended us, filtering out wood dust, they are not designed to filter out the kind of stuff most of us shoot out of a spray gun. Remember, the idea is to breath air that is coming from a location far away from the air you are contaminating.
Cutting corners is when it comes to safety is never a good idea. While you may get short-term satisfaction, the long term pay-off may cost you much more than you could imagine. Take the time to research what your needs are and get the best equipment you can. Your health may depend on those decisions. There’s always a choice. Hopefully with the right information you can make the best one
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