| Long term risks |
Most of the long-term risks are more dangerous than the list above because these risks are not always
Allergic reactions to certain chemicals and problems to the respiratory system due to over exposure to
chemicals. To realize what dangers we are talking about here you first need to know some basic information:
Allergic reactions occur when we come in contact with materials our body cannot really cope with. Allergic
reactions can display itself at the skin, like red spots and
even wounds in the long term and as problems with the respiratory system. We are all common to people
being allergic to cats and dogs while Hayfever is also a typical allergic reaction.
It is a fact that you can usually withstand a lot of contact with a material you’re in fact allergic to, without
having any trouble at all. But when you finally reached the point where your body starts “over” reacting to
contact with a chemical it will hardly ever go away.
Allergies - You can develop an allergy for solvents and thinners and also resin, more precise Polyurethane
Resin is a chemical that can give very strong allergic attacks. As mentioned before a Dutch modeler was
hospitalized for about 10 days with severe nosebleeds, and big problems to his respiratory system. He was
working with Polyurethane Resin when the problems started. The dust from sanding some parts did the job.
Therefore it is essential that you try to minimize the amount of dust you inhale when sanding, sawing and
cutting plastics. The easiest way is to wear a safety mask, use wet sandpaper and clean up the workbench
as often as possible. Also be sure not to eat, drink or smoke while working with these plastics.
Brain damage caused by over exposure to solvents - This may sound very dramatic but it doesn’t have
to be. More and more literature about a disease called OPS is now available and it is now clear that this disease is caused by minute brain damage due to years and years of working with solvents. In Holland the disease is called “Painters Disease” because this is one of the labour groups that frequently show the effects of this disease. These
effects are: sudden mood changes, loss of concentration and feeling tired and numb.
Although most modelers don’t use large amounts of the thinners and solvents that may inflict people, they do
often work in ill-ventilated areas and very close to their faces; in fact usually they are sitting right above the
fumes and vapors. These solvents are to be found in many paints, glues and putties. Some solvents are
also possible carcinogens, which mean they may increase the risk for developing cancer. I will give you a
short list of chemicals commonly used by many modelers with their risks for your health.
Acetone - Used for gluing and cleaning airbrushes and brushes: Solvent, danger for OPS
AcrylCyanoate or Super glue - Suspected fumes and also dangerous for the eyes, it glues flesh together
Acrylic Paints - safest paint to use, low in fumes and solvents, often alcohol based
Benzene - Used for cleaning airbrushes, Solvent, risk for OPS and carcinogens
Caustic Soda - sometimes used for stripping paint of models, can give you severe burns and can cause
blindness when the solution is too strong
Enamel paints - paints based on oils, their thinners are the most risky components.
Epoxy Putties - like Zimm-it-rite and Miliput - Can cause skin and eye irritation, harmful when swallowed
MEK - Solvent used for cleaning airbrushes and gluing plastics: OPS and suspected of having carcinogens
Pigments in paint - Some of the pigments in paints are based on oxidized metals like Cadmium and Titanium.
A Dutch beer brewery (Heineken) had to destroy all of their yellow crates a few years back because of the
Cadmium Yellow pigments in the plastics. As this cost them millions you can understand they didn't do
Polystyrene glue - Often Toluene based solvent with OPS risk and suspected of having carcinogens
Polyurethane Resin plastic - the dust is the most dangerous, because it can enter your respiratory system.
Polyester - very harmful vapors will occur during the curing process.
Primer paints - Often from a spray can, lots of unhealthy vapors and pigments.
Silicone Rubber Compounds - Can cause skin and eye irritation
Soldering lead - The fumes are not very healthy, lead is poisoning also.