Safety & Regulations
Epoxies have undergone extensive testing for health and environmental effects. The finished, hardened epoxy (cured epoxy) is inert and unlikely to pose any health risk. Before the curing process, the starting building blocks, resins, and hardeners may show hazardous properties and can produce irritating or sensitizing effects. Provided that basic precautions are taken and specific safety instructions from each product’s safety data sheet (SDS) are followed, simple best practices related to transportation, storage, mixing, application, cleaning, and disposal helps epoxy systems to be handled safely.
The main risk to workers is via skin contact, and the correct use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and skin protectant is essential.
Additional information to support craftsmen, business managers, and safety and education managers can be found here.
The testing and standardization of epoxies is well documented by standard setting bodies, such as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Standards help ensure that materials and process are consistent and fit for purpose. ASTM D1763 and ISO 18280:2010 and ISO 3673-2:2012 are examples of epoxy related standards.
Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a common starting material for epoxy resins. Only minute residual traces, also known as technical impurities, of BPA remain in epoxy resin and will either react during the curing process or will be embedded and immobilized into the cured resin.
Epoxy linings made with BPA create a protective barrier in metal containers to help prevent canned foods from becoming spoiled or contaminated with bacteria or rust. Epoxy resins used in food packaging have been approved for decades by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), and numerous other government agencies worldwide.
For more than a decade, U.S. government scientists have conducted in-depth studies on BPA that provide a strong scientific foundation for evaluation of its safety. Taken together, these studies confirm that consumer exposure to BPA is extremely low; BPA is rapidly eliminated from the body, and it is unlikely to cause health effects at the very low doses to which consumers are typically exposed. In addition, the FDA perspective is that BPA is safe at the current levels occurring in foods from food-contact applications such as metal can coatings.