Working with epoxy resin offers a variety of advantages. The material is extremely flexible and can be used in many areas. However, the resin also has some disadvantages. First and foremost are the health aspects. In this guide we inform you how food-safe epoxy resin really is and what you should consider in this context.
- 1 Food Safe Epoxy Resin with Test Seal
- 2 Only a few Epoxy Resin products are approved by the FDA
- 3 Food Safety – what exactly does that mean?
- 4 Is Epoxy Food safe?
- 5 Get Food Safe Epoxy with Bisphenol A
- 6 How do I know how harmless my Epoxy Resin is?
- 7 Safety first – Notes on occupational Safety
- 8 Early Treatment of Skin Diseases
- 9 Conclusion
Food Safe Epoxy Resin with Test Seal
If epoxy resin comes into contact with food or the skin over a longer period of time, it is important to clarify in advance how food-safe epoxy resin actually is. This is for example the case with
- Coatings of food tanks
- Molds used in the food industry (e.g. chocolate moulds)
- Household articles, e.g. fruit bowls or cutting boards
- Furniture made of epoxy resin, especially epoxy resin tables
- Interior coatings of ponds
- Aquaria or terraria
The good news first: the EU has its own seal of approval to indicate that the resin is food safe. There are specially developed products that bear this seal for our above-mentioned examples. However, even every commercially available epoxy is food-safe and therefore harmless in case of short-term contact.
Tip: Only when resin is fully cured is it non-toxic or food safe. In the liquid state, epoxy resin and also the vapours produced are ALWAYS toxic! Therefore, you should take strict care that your skin does not come into contact with liquid resin.
Only a few Epoxy Resin products are approved by the FDA
Only a few years ago, the various countries themselves determined which standards and country-specific certificates were necessary to be able to declare an epoxy resin as “food-safe”. After the introduction of the EU uniform guidelines, many manufacturers of the cast resin refrained from having their products tested again in order to obtain the test seal. One reason for this is that obtaining the seal involves a great deal of effort. On the other hand the approval is very expensive for the manufacturer. For this reason there are only a few epoxy resins with the test seal on the market.
Let’s go through the best food-safe epoxy products available in the market at the moment. The best brand to follow in this regard are Max CLR Epoxy and Art Resin. It is known to be used for getting those shiny coatings over your tabletops and counters. You can work with it for more than an hour, and it just takes a day to cure. Coming in varying sizes, this brand is also approved by the FDA and is a good choice to go ahead with.
The best feature is its consistency, which tends to take care of the gaps, which might be an upside to its viscosity. This highly reduces the formation of air bubbles and makes the product look out of the world before it cures. Though one problematic result of this feature is that if the surface is not flat, it becomes very difficult to control its flow. It is approved for brief, direct use with food making it a food-safe epoxy resin. It is deemed safe for countertops, bowls, and mugs for coating. Though it is not as cost-effective as other epoxy resins, it has a huge advantage of keeping you safe over them.
We show you the FDA food safe epoxy resin that are available:
- Very high-quality epoxy resin, which was developed for the application in the field of art.
- Thus no vapours are produced by volatile organic compounds when using ArtResin and after drying the surface is food safe.
- Contains a UV filter which protects the artwork from yellowing. The surface is high-gloss after drying.
Food Safety – what exactly does that mean?
There is no precise definition of what makes a material a food safe material. However, some requirements must be met in any case. These include, for example, the food conformity requirements of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Federal Office for Risk Assessment and the requirements of the EU Regulation No. 10.2011.
In principle, a material is considered food safe if it can come into direct contact with food without posing any health risks. This means:
- The material does not release any taste or smell to the food
- Human health is not endangered if a food is consumed after contact with the material
- The material releases no or very few non-crosslinked components to the food
The composition of the food does not change by contact with the material
If in doubt, you should first check with the manufacturer to make sure that the product is food safe. It is also important to follow the mixing ratio recommended by the manufacturer carefully during processing in order to obtain the best possible quality of resin.
Is Epoxy Food safe?
A general statement whether epoxy resin is toxic or non-toxic cannot be made. This depends primarily on the chemical composition of the individual products.
However, this can vary depending on the intended use. One casting resin can therefore be more harmful to health than another. Nevertheless, it is always important to protect yourself as best as possible when working with the resin. Never touch the resin or hardener without protective gloves. You can protect yourself from the harmful vapours by wearing a breathing mask. It is also advisable to use safety glasses to prevent resin splashes from accidentally getting into your eyes.
Essentially, however, two basic statements can be made about the toxicity of epoxy resin:
- Liquid epoxy resin is always toxic
- The resin is non-toxic in the cured state
Inhalation of the vapours produced should be avoided as far as possible. However, you should know that direct skin contact with the resin is significantly more harmful to health than the vapours. In the meantime, some casting resins are at least partially made from natural ingredients. Nevertheless, even these are toxic when they are in a liquid state. Caution is required especially with the following ingredients:
Precautions regarding BPA that needs to be taken before selecting Epoxy Resin
There has been a lot of conjecture about using epoxy resin for items relating to food. But is it so? Well, there is a possibility that the chemical compound the resin is made of works well with food.
Specifically, the hardener should not contain any kind of amines as they can blend with the food and make it fatal to consume. Though there are a lot of options besides the hardener itself, you should be careful while using it to do away with the formation of carcinogenic or mutagenic compounds. Since the use of such hardeners is already prohibited, to your relief, you have the option of choosing aliphatic and cycloaliphatic hardeners for food safe epoxy.
The main problem when it comes to epoxy is the presence of bisphenol of A-type and B-type. The presence of bisphenol A (BPA) in the epoxy is to increase the quality of curing. BPA is responsible for water pollution largely as it is present in plastic compounds that are thrown into the water bodies.
It has been found that BPA at minute levels can be used, and that does not harm the body. Though many manufacturers have come forward in this initiative by announcing products that eliminate its existence, that is not a need considering normal human consumption of the chemical. The research has shown that almost all humans are exposed to it and consume it in some form, but how it affects the body in the long-term has not been confirmed yet.
The Food and Drug Administration has confirmed that BPA can be used at lower levels, but due to the skepticism and possibility of high toxicity, in the long run, it is not left behind as of now. There is still a lot of review and research which is being conducted in this regard though the previous research has shown clearly that since the use of bisphenol A in plastics and resins, it is detectable in the human body.
Carbolic Acid / Phenol
Carbolic acid is used today in agriculture as a weed killer. In rare cases it is also used as a disinfectant in low doses. In very high doses it is considered a nerve or cell poison and can cause chemical burns if it comes into contact with the skin.
Epichlorohydrin / Prepolymers and Diglycidyl Ether:
These substances are known to cause allergic reactions when in direct contact with the skin. Non-treatable contact eczema is also possible. The effect when these two substances are combined is still unknown. If one exposes oneself to a very high concentration of epichlorohydrin or diglycidyl ether over a longer period of time, it is suspected that they can be carcinogenic. Escaping vapours can also cause paralysis of the respiratory tract, irritation of the mucous membranes or delirium. If one comes into contact with the toxic substances very frequently and over a longer period of time, nerve damage or kidney damage is also possible.
Tip: The products available on the market differ significantly in their toxicity. Products that are generally used by DIY and craftsmen are less harmful than so-called industrial products. This often contains considerably more toxic substances because it can be assumed that they are processed in industry in isolated rooms with an extraction mechanism. At this point it becomes clear that savings should not be made at the wrong end in the interests of health protection and quality. After all, the more harmful industrial goods are considerably cheaper than products for do-it-yourselfers.
Get Food Safe Epoxy with Bisphenol A
However, we see it; the fear of BPA’s effects on the body have put us in a constant state of strife. Therefore, we have decided to move ahead in this section by believing that the health concerns have to be taken care of, and epoxy cannot be completely avoided. In this case, we recommend that you go for FDA-approved food-safe epoxy resins. Other than this, we are also coming to the rescue with some tips to help you keep safe from the effects of BPA in epoxy resin.
1. Keep the epoxy and food away
BPA can adulterate the food, and no matter whatever is proven, this fact cannot be changed. In this case, the best solution is that epoxy is used for the areas where the container does not come in contact with food directly, and therefore, there is either little or no contact at all. When using epoxy to glue parts together, none of it should be exposed and should be covered via overlapping. It should be impossible for the food and epoxy to break through the barriers and find their way to each other. This completely depends on your design, so be careful when you are formulating them for food safe epoxy.
2. Not to be used for storage
If the containers are used for long-term storage, the BPA compound in the epoxy is bound to penetrate and spoil the food that is being stored. It is suggested that those food containers which are lined with epoxy should be used only for a short period. This way, the time they share reduces to a large extent, and you can save ourselves from the possible contamination of your body. That is why epoxy resin has not been eradicated when it comes to food. The best kind of use is with kitchen surfaces, but even for containers, using it temporarily is not a huge problem.
3. The epoxy mixture has to be measured and mixed with accuracy (1:1)
You should know the epoxy resin engages in a reaction of polymerization while you combine the two parts, and this can serve as a boom when it comes to reducing the effects of BPA. This becomes vital information in this case as the hardener and the epoxy both let go of their contaminants and reduce the chance of spoiling the food.
Artists or craftsmen who have been using epoxy must have the habit of measuring the two with high accuracy, and this can save them from the possible hazardous relationship between food and epoxy. You also save up on your ingredients this way and post that your health. So try and be as accurate as you can.
4. Following the instructions for curing
Generally, all manufacturers of epoxy always resort to specific instructions regarding the mixing and curing. Even though the hardening happens in less time, the complete procedure might take more than a day. When the epoxy is fully cured, only then it should be used. Otherwise, you give way to the direct mixing of food and epoxy through leaching. So we suggest that it becomes a polymer completely before use.
How do I know how harmless my Epoxy Resin is?
If you have any questions about food safety and toxicity of the resin you use, it is best to contact the manufacturer directly. As a rule, the manufacturer provides the safety data sheets of his products on his website. Here you can find out exactly how the ingredients of a particular casting resin are classified. The label for hazardous substances is just as informative. If in doubt, it is often worth calling the company itself or the customer hotline to clarify further questions.
Safety first – Notes on occupational Safety
- Resin and hardener contain toxic substances even if they have not yet been mixed together. Therefore you should always make sure that none of the substances comes into direct contact with the skin.
- After mixing the two components, a chemical reaction occurs, which produces toxic fumes. An important protective measure to avoid inhalation is the use of a respirator with an A2 filter. This will protect you from organic vapours and gases.
- You should use nitrile gloves to protect your hands. Latex gloves are not sufficient for working with epoxy resin.
- To protect your eyes from possible splashes, it is essential to wear protective goggles.
- A breathing mask should also be used when grinding, sawing or drilling the cured resin afterwards. Although the cast resin itself is non-toxic after curing, further processing may produce toxic dust which, like the vapours, should not be inhaled.
Tip: When working with epoxy resin, always make sure that the room in which you work can be well ventilated. For your own safety, do not dispense with appropriate protective clothing even during further processing of the cured work piece.
Early Treatment of Skin Diseases
If you notice any changes in your skin shortly after working with epoxy resin, you should not wait too long to see a doctor. If possible, the first step should be to see a qualified dermatologist. If skin reactions caused by harmful substances in the resin are not treated, they often become chronic. Skin symptoms may also occur if epoxy resin vapours are inhaled, skin contact is not necessary.
If you follow the processing and safety instructions, epoxy resin is an incredibly versatile material.
The food-conscious world is extremely wary of what the body takes, and with the advancement of technology, the use of materials such as resins and its effects have also been taken into consideration. It cannot be ignored that the chemical contamination of the body is an issue that has always been waiting to be addressed. That is why we came up with a set of precautions and tips that can save you from the constant struggle to choose in between.
Therefore, after understanding the effects of bisphenol A and its role in epoxies, it should be your conscious effort to apply your knowledge to use them and do food-safe epoxies.