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Odorless Doesn’t Mean Harmless – An Analysis of Odorless Paints – By ChemVent Chemical Product Development

Article by: Chemvent http://www.chemvent.com/odorlesspaintanalysi/

With the introduction of odorless paint, precautions are being thrown out the window. Fumeless means harmless, or does it?  Normal paint fumes are known to be hazardous. When painting, most individuals take precautions such as ensuring proper ventilation and limiting exposure to wet paint. But what really determines the level of potential harm, and are health precautions still needed even with odorless paint?

The average paint has some level of toxicity. Most people know to ventilate rooms, keep pregnant women away from fumes, and carefully guard materials to make sure no children accidentally ingest the substance. But is common knowledge enough? Some paints include known toxins such as turpentine, heavy metals, formaldehyde, vinyl chloride and more. While most people are cognizant of immediate reactions to over-exposure, they are unaware of long-term effects of the paint, even after it has dried. In fact paint can emit harmful chemicals for over six years after use. With this understanding the question quickly becomes, if my paint is harmful years after the fumes have ceased – is odorless really any benefit at all?

Odorless paint has quickly gained the interest of consumers concerned with the movement in product development improvement, stricter environmental regulations and individual concern over health risks. Misrepresentation in media and misleading product taglines have had a large part in consumers’ misguided understanding. Online articles describe odorless paint as “low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs)” and consisting of “natural elements rather than chemicals”.  Truth be told “odorless” guarantees nothing of the kind.
For example look at one of the many odorless primers in today’s market. Though the product has an “ultra low odor formula”, upon scrolling down the product warnings read, “WARNING! This product contains chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm. CONTAINS PETROLEUM DISTILLATES. VAPOR HARMFUL:  May affect the brain or nervous system causing dizziness, headache, or nausea. Causes eye, skin, nose and throat irritation.” Of course these warnings are nothing new to the paint industry and many brands require such a label.

What may be more shocking are the words of the CEO of a California paint company who says of one of their low-odor products, “If you were to stick your nose in it, you wouldn’t even know it isn’t latex. It has no odor whatsoever. But it has almost the maximum amount of VOCs.” In fact EPA’s TEAM studies show that even products with organic chemicals can contain extremely high pollutant levels.
The real threat is a combination of toxic chemicals and VOCs. Volatile Organic Compounds have “organic” right in the name but they in no way represent the term’s connotation prevalent in today’s world. As “Volatile” infers, these compounds have adverse short and long-term affects on an individual’s health. A wide variety of products emit VOCs including cleaning supplies, pesticides, paints and lacquers, and host of office and craft items. Natural paints can include toxins such as terpene oil solvents which are known to generate carcinogenic microparticulates as they interact with the ozone in your home. Even slight exposure to poisons over an extended period of time can result in what is called Sick Building Syndrome and in some cases cause brain damage. More information regarding common chemical solvents and their associated health risks can be found here.

The good news is steps are being made to reduce the level of VOCs in paints and companies are starting to create non-toxic, zero-VOC paints. The regulatory changes regarding VOCs began in March of 2009 when the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) agreed to reduce VOC contents in pain thinners and solvents to 300g/L with the plan to decrease that to 25g/L in Jan of 2011. This was revised by the California Air Resources Board in conjunction with SCAQMD to regulate the VOC by weight and allow 30% VOC as of Dec 2010 decreasing to 3% in Dec 2013. This 3% in practice is quite close to the original 25g/L ruling. It is important to note that while addressing the VOC % is a good thing, substitute chemicals may provide alternative health risks such as agents with high flammability.
As the EPA and OTC take note of the danger of VOCs the responsibility continues to weigh heavily on the consumer to understand a product’s associated risks. By definition many chemicals are VOC exempt though they still have extreme health hazards. Ammonia and butyl acetate are two common chemicals in paint that are harmful but do not affect the VOC rate. Companies are also only required to report ingredients that make up over 1% of the product. Therefore even purchasing a low or Zero-VOC paint does not ensure safety.
It is important for consumers to keep a few things in mind when considering safety implications of their paint products.
Odorless does not mean harmless. Don’t be duped by good marketing schemes.

Follow all safety precautions making sure that paint is allowed to cure for 3 days without people in the area.
Carefully research you paint choices taking into account VOC levels and toxic chemicals.
If looking for greater protection search for all-natural paint brands.
Buy materials in quantities you know you will quickly use. VOCs can emit through closed containers.
Never dispose of paint in the garbage, research you area’s toxic household waste removal.
Lastly, to manufacturers – know what you are creating. If you are a paint manufacturer looking to create a better alternative, employ thorough product testing and analysis to discover options for product improvement.
       

Hexavalent Chromium and Your Responsibility

If you work with, work near or have any type of exposure to hazardous pollutants you owe it to yourself to be responsible and knowledgeable of what it is that you are being expose too. Just Google the word Hexavalent Chromium and I can almost guarantee you that you will immediately find that it is not only commonly used, but that it is hazardous, toxic and causes cancer.

This is exactly what I did, and I came across this Occupational Safety and Health OSHA Fact Sheet on “Controlling Exposure to Hexavalent Chromium in Aerospace and Air Transport Painting” the very first paragraph communicates the following: “Hexavalent chromium or Cr(VI) is a toxic form of chromium which can cause sever health effects to workers, including lung cancer. Chromium Compounds are added to paints and primers to provide corrosion protection and to create specific colors. Painting operations in the aerospace and air transportation industries can expose workers to hazardous level of Cr(VI). The OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for workers exposure to Cr(VI) is 5ug/m3 {as an 8-hour-FR 1910.time weighted average (TWA) and OSDHA regulates worker exposure to this hazardous substance under it Chromium (VI) standard, 29 CFR 1910.1026.” file:///C:/Users/AirVerter/Desktop/White%20Paper%20Research%20Articles/Chromates%20OSHA%20FactSheetAerospace_Paint.pdf

So what do I mean by responsibility? It is your responsibility to know what it is you’re being exposed to. How that substance can affects your short term or long term health. How much of it are you being exposed to? Whether or not a little exposure today, a little exposure tomorrow could add up to a toxic level later? Can it affect my quality of life? Can I bring what I’m being exposed to home with me? Does my clothing, my tools, my skin absorb what I’m being exposed to? What is off-gassing or out-gassing? Is off-gassing exposure long term or short term? Is the present of odor a good indicator that exposure is there or is it odorless? What can I do to minimize my exposure and am I utilizing the best available practices to maximize my personal safety?

Isocyanates and AirVerters CAPS II System

Hexamethylene diisocyanate is used as a polymerizing agent in polyurethane paints and coatings, commonly known as isocyanates. Short-term exposure to high concentrations of hexamethylene diisocyanate in humans can cause: • pulmonary edema • coughing • shortness of breath • eye, ear, & nose irritation • chronic lung problems One of the main uses of hexamethylene diisocyanate is as a polymerizing agent in polyurethane spray paint formulations and coatings, and unprotected workers may be exposed to the chemical during spray applications of polyurethane paints. To achieve compliance administrative or engineering controls must be implemented whenever feasible. When such controls are not feasible to achieve full compliance, protective equipment or other protective measures shall be used to keep the exposure of employees to air contaminants within the limits prescribed in this section. Below is an example of implementing an engineering control: the AirVerter CAPS II fitted with a SharpShooter tool. The permissible exposure limits (PEL) are 0.005 results using the CAPS II system was <0.00072 ppm below the detection limit (BDL) of the analytical method. (A) Sample Numbers - KT10021-1 personal sample Compound - examethylene diisocyanate 8-hr Time Weighted Average (TWA)***mg/m3 -0.00072 ppm (BDL)* CAL/OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PRL)**mg/m3 - 0.005 ppm CAL/OSHA PEL Exceeded Yes/No - No (B) Sample Numbers - KT 100211-2 area sample at exhaust line Compound - Hexamethylene diisocyanate 8-hr Time Weighted Average (TWA)***mg/m3 - <0.00072 ppm (BDL)* CAL/OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PRL)**mg/m3 - 0.005 ppm CAL/OSHA PEL Exceeded Yes/No - No *BDL-Below the detection limit of the analytical method **Permissible Exposure Limit: The permissible concentration in air of a substance to which nearly all workers may be repeatedly exposed 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week, for 30 years without adverse effects. ***TWA-Time Weighted Average-the airborne concentration of a contaminant averaged over the work period usually 8 hours Prepared by Jeff Hill for AirVerter

Controlling Exposure to Hexavalent Chromium in Aerospace and Air Transport Painting

(OSHA FactSheet) Controlling Exposure to Hexavalent Chromium in Aerospace and Air Transport Painting

Hexavalent chromium or Cr(VI) is a toxic form of chromium which can cause severe health effects to workers, including lung cancer. Chromium compounds are added to paints and primers to provide corrosion protection and to create specific colors.

Painting operations in the aerospace and air transportation industries can expose workers to hazardous levels of Cr(VI).
The OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for worker exposure to Cr(VI) is 5 µg/m3 [as an 8-hour-time weighted average (TWA)] and OSHA regulates worker exposure to this hazardous substance under its Chromium (VI) standard, 29 CFR 1910.1026.
Painting operations that expose workers to hexavalent
chromium Certain paints and primers may contain Cr(VI), a cancer-causing compound regulated by OSHA. Exposure to Cr(VI) can occur during the painting of aircraft exteriors, interiors or parts, and during the removal of chromate-based coatings. Job tasks that may expose workers to Cr(VI) include spray painting, sanding, grinding and abrasive blasting.
Health effects of exposure to Cr(VI)
• Lung cancer and nasal and sinus cancer
• Eye, nose and throat irritation
• Nasal septum ulcerations and perforations, gastritis, and gastrointestinal ulcers
• Contact dermatitis, irritation, ulcers, and sensitization from skin contact

Methods to reduce Cr(VI) exposure levels when spray painting aircraft parts –
Spray painting aircraft parts can be done in a spray booth with a downdraft or cross-draft exhaust ventilation system to keep exposures below the OSHA PEL of 5 µg/m3.
Methods to reduce Cr(VI) exposure levels when spray painting assembled aircraft Spray booths may not be feasible when painting assembled aircraft or large aircraft parts. Controlling Cr(VI) exposure can be challenging and requires careful planning to protect workers. Some engineering controls, like dilution (general) ventilation, may not be effective when spray painting assembled aircraft (interior, exterior) and large aircraft parts (wings, tail sections, ailerons (wing turning mechanism, etc.) in hangers or other large buildings. OSHA’s Cr(VI) standard provides that where employees are painting aircraft or large aircraft parts, engineering and work practice controls must be used to reduce Cr(VI) exposures to or below 25 µg/m3 (8-hour TWA), unless the employer can demonstrate that such controls are not feasible. The employer must supplement engineering and work practice controls with respirators to achieve worker protection to the PEL of 5 µg/m3 (8-hour TWA).

Control methods to reduce worker Cr(VI) exposure during paint removal-
Sanding, grinding, and abrasive blasting to remove paint can be performed in spray booths or rooms with mechanical ventilation. In large hangers or rooms with only general ventilation, equipment can include local exhaust ventilation (LEV) to capture generated dust.
In addition:
• Use handheld powered sanding, cutting, and grinding equipment with attached LEV connected to high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtered exhaust
• Do not use compressed air to blow dust off aircraft or parts. • Use HEPA filtered vacuums or wet methods (spray mist) to reduce dust. • Use ventilated, fully enclosed glove box abrasive blasting units for small objects.
• Conduct abrasive blasting in a dedicated room equipped with mechanical exhaust ventilation for large parts. More Information

For more information on hexavalent chromium exposure, visit OSHA’s website at www.osha.gov.

Odors – “Why Some People Get Sick From Harmless Smells”

I never understood why it was that what others said smelled good seemed to turn my stomach. Then I came across this article and it helped me realize, “no I am not crazy”.

People who become ill from harmless smells are not being silly, says Dutch researcher Patricia Bulsing. Rather, they perceive these smells differently than other people. The smell is detected more rapidly by the brain and processed more deeply. If you expect to become ill from a smell, then the smell in question might really make you ill.
Would your favourite perfume smell just as attractive if the bottle displayed a large label saying ‘Warning: perfume can be toxic’? Probably not. But some people react even more violently, actually becoming ill. Analyses of odour molecules and receptors in the nose have not yet been able to show why people become sick from what are actually harmless odours. According to Patricia Bulsing, our unconscious perception may well have a part to play in this. She has discovered, for instance, that people subconsciously associate the notion of odours with illness. Also, our own experiences exert a significant influence on the way our brains process incoming odours.
If you’ve ever eaten anything that actually made you ill, you know that afterwards you cannot tolerate the smell of the food concerned for a while. You then associate the odour with a feeling of queasiness. This is the sort of association that Bulsing taught her trial volunteers. She combined a smell with a painful stimulus in the nose. This led to the volunteers expecting a specific odour to be associated with pain.
Not in your nose and not between your ears, but in your brain.
The psychologist looked at what was happening in the brain as soon as people inhaled an odour they associated with the expectation of pain. Using electrodes attached to the head, Bulsing was able to see that the volunteers processed the incoming information more quickly when they expected pain. An unpleasant smell, associated with pain, also meant that the information was processed more intensely, with the brain devoting more energy towards processing the information. So, when people expect that an odour can cause pain, their brains process the odour quite differently.
Government departments and industrialists who have to deal with people who become ill from odour nuisance often assume that they are imagining their illness. Bulsing has now demonstrated that this is not the case. The subconscious association between odour and illness indicates that people regard odours as warning signals.
In such cases, being able to detect and analyse odours rapidly and subconsciously is advantageous. However, a clear disadvantage of this response mechanism is the increased risk of a false alarm. According to Bulsing, this mechanism may also be the basis for exaggerated physical reactions to odours.
Patricia Bulsing undertook her research within the project ‘Chemosensory irritation from disagreeable and agreeable odours: subjective versus objective effects’ headed by Vidi prizewinner Monique Smeets.

Story Source:
Materials provided by NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research). Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091029151445.htm

EPA gets new powers to regulate toxic chemicals, but progress takes time


With new evidence surfacing almost weekly about how Americans are absorbing hormone-disrupting chemicals — sometimes merely from sitting on a sofa or drinking from a plastic cup — the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is getting sweeping new powers to regulate toxic substances in furniture, toys, electronics and household products.

Legislation sent this month to President Barack Obama for his expected signature will give the EPA more authority to order safety tests for chemicals and set deadlines for the agency to determine whether dangerous compounds should be restricted or forced off the market. The EPA also will be required to take additional steps to ensure pregnant women, children and other vulnerable populations are protected.

But even in the best-case scenarios envisioned by lawmakers who backed the unusual bipartisan compromise, it will take the EPA more than a decade to determine the fate of a few dozen chemicals the agency already has identified because they are suspected of posing significant health hazards.

For instance, though the EPA knows people are regularly exposed to certain flame retardants and studies show the widely used chemicals are harmful, it could take at least seven years under the new system before rules are in place regulating their use. Chemical companies could get another five years to comply with regulations.

 

Meeting those deadlines will depend on more money and manpower at a federal agency that is routinely attacked by the Republican majority in Congress and that GOP candidate Donald Trump has vowed to gut if elected president. Several bureaucratic and judicial hurdles also remain that could delay changes sought by consumers and retailers.

“This isn’t going to be an overnight success,” said Richard Denison, a senior scientist at the nonprofit Environmental Defense Fund who spent years pushing for an overhaul of the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act, the only major environmental statute that hasn’t been updated by Congress since it originally took effect. “The reason it’s going to take a long time to work is because we’ve been in such a deep hole for such a long time.”

Scientists are finding a vast array of chemicals in air, water, food and people, often decades after the compounds were first added to consumer products. In a new analysis of peer-reviewed studies and other data, the nonprofit Environmental Working Group tallied more than 400 known or suspected carcinogens that have been detected in Americans, including nine found at high enough levels to pose a cancer risk.

Under existing law, the chemical industry has been allowed to put products on the market without safety testing and to keep many of its formulas secret. Regulators largely have been prohibited from taking action unless they could prove a chemical poses an “unreasonable risk” — a threshold so burdensome the EPA couldn’t even ban asbestos, a well-documented carcinogen that has killed thousands of people who suffered devastating lung diseases.

Agency officials still will have only 90 days to judge a new chemical before it can enter the market. But the EPA will be able to order testing without years of rulemaking and will be required to identify high-priority chemicals for review, with an initial focus on about 90 compounds.

“We know these chemicals accumulate in the environment and can cause cancer, neurological disorders and impaired reproduction,” said U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat who helped revive reform efforts in 2013 following a Tribune investigation about toxic flame retardants. “For too long, the Environmental Protection Agency has lacked the authority to meaningfully regulate dangerous chemicals and keep them off the market.”

Members of Congress from both parties, chemical industry representatives and some public health groups hailed the compromise bill as a substantial improvement that balances competing interests.

Some leading industry officials began supporting a new national safety law after a growing number of states, motivated by a lack of action at the federal level, enacted bans on specific compounds. Some states, including California and Washington, established programs to study chemicals and draw attention to harmful substances.

The industry’s congressional allies, led by Republican Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana and Republican Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois, secured new limits on state actions when the EPA is studying a chemical. But the provision isn’t as sweeping as the total ban on state authority sought by some companies.

“No question that this is a significant bill that will have a meaningful impact on the economy and the marketplace,” said Anne Kolton, a spokeswoman for the American Chemistry Council, the industry’s chief trade group. “It is a compromise, so naturally no one got everything they would have wanted had they been able to craft a reform bill on their own.”

Two widely used flame retardants highlighted by the Tribune’s “Playing With Fire” investigation are examples of how current law fails to guarantee the safety of chemicals in commonly used consumer products.

The EPA approved one flame retardant, known as Firemaster 550, more than a decade ago even though the manufacturer’s own health studies found that exposing rats to high doses can lower birth weight, alter female genitalia and cause skeletal malformations. More recent studies suggest the chemical ingredients can trigger obesity, anxiety and other problems at significantly lower levels.

Chemtura, the Philadelphia-based company that makes the flame retardant, says it introduced the chemical mixture because it offered a “better environmental profile” than Penta, another flame retardant it voluntarily withdrew from the market after studies found it builds up in people and triggers health problems.

Another flame retardant, known as TDCPP or chlorinated tris, was voluntarily removed from children’s pajamas during the late 1970s after scientists found it could mutate DNA. California lists it as a known carcinogen.

Yet manufacturers continued to add the chemical to other products. Duke University chemist Heather Stapleton found that until recently chlorinated tris was commonly added to household furniture cushions.

Both flame retardants are on the list of chemicals the EPA will assess under the new law. The Environmental Working Group estimates it could take the agency nearly three decades just to finish risk assessments for Firemaster 550, chlorinated tris and about 90 other compounds. Imposing and enforcing regulations would take even longer.

“How is that going to reassure the public?” asked David Andrews, the group’s senior scientist. “Some of these chemicals are going to end up remaining on the market for another generation.”

Other substances on the EPA’s priority list include asbestos and arsenic, the bisphenol A used in thermal paper and food can linings, and plasticizers known as phthalates. While the agency wraps up those reviews, Andrews said, other worrisome compounds likely will emerge, further challenging the limited agency staff.

The most encouraging signs of change may be seen in the marketplace, not in Congress. With parents and advocates clamoring for safer products, retailers like Wal-Mart and Target have been pushing suppliers to avoid entire families of chemicals rather than merely replacing one compound with something slightly different.

Andy Igrejas, executive director of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families advocacy coalition, said the new law should do more good than harm.

“This is not a champagne moment,” he wrote in a blog post to fellow advocates. “But you deserve a beer at least.”

mhawthorne@tribpub.com

Twitter @scribeguy

Copyright © 2016, Chicago Tribune
A version of this article appeared in print on June 21, 2016, in the News section of the Chicago Tribune with the headline “Law to arm EPA in fight against toxins – But it may take years for new system to get rid of some chemicals” — Today’s paperToday’s paper | Subscribe

How to Avoid Exposure to Isocyanates

dangers of inhaling isocyanatesIsocyanates are a family of highly reactive, low molecular weight chemicals. They are widely used in the manufacture of flexible and rigid foams, fibers, coatings such as paints and varnishes, and elastomers, and are increasingly used in the automobile industry, auto body repair, and building insulation materials. Spray-on polyurethane products containing isocyanates have been developed for a wide range of retail, commercial, and industrial uses to protect cement, wood, fiberglass, steel and aluminum, including protective coatings for truck beds, trailers, boats, foundations, and decks.

Hexamethylene diisocyanate, commonly known as isocyanates, is used as a polymerizing agent in polyurethane paints and coatings. Short-term exposure to high concentrations of hexamethylene diisocyanate in humans can cause:

  • pulmonary edema
  • coughing
  • shortness of breath
  • eye, ear, & nose irritation
  • chronic lung problems
  • and more…

IMPORTANT:Exposure risk is cumulative and causes long-term exposure effects.

To achieve compliance administrative or engineering controls must be implemented whenever feasible. When such controls are not feasible to achieve full compliance, protective equipment or other protective measures shall be used to keep the exposure of employees to air contaminants within the limits prescribed in this section.

Below is an example of implementing an engineering control: the AirVerter CAPS II fitted with a SharpShooter tool. The permissible exposure limits (PEL) are .0005. The results using the CAPS II system was <0.00072 ppm below the detection limit (BDL) of the analytical method.

Sample Number Compound 8-hr Time Weighted Average (TWA)***mg/m3 CAL/OSHAPermissible Exposure Limit (PEL)**mg/m3 CAL/OSHA PELExceeded Yes/No
KT10021-1personal sample Hexamethylene diisocyanate <0.00072 ppm (BDL)* 0.005 ppm No
KT100211-2area sample at exhaust line Hexamethylene diisocyanate <0.00072 ppm (BDL)* 0.005 ppm No

*BDL-Below the detection limit of the analytical method

**Permissible Exposure Limit: The permissible concentration in air of a substance to which nearly all workers may be repeatedly exposed 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week, for 30 years without adverse effects.

***TWA-Time Weighted Average-the airborne concentration of a contaminant averaged over the work period usually 8 hours

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