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An oft-asked question in the automotive and industrial world concerns how dangerous some of the chemicals some people are exposed to actually are. From auto paint to degreasers, every chemical comes with its own set of risks.
Does Car paint cause cancer?
Long-term exposure to auto paint may cause an increased risk of lung cancer. This is because car paint contains various chemicals such as solvents, fillers, binders, pigments, and other additives.
These chemical products usually produce poisonous fumes that expose painters to various health hazards. On top of that, other car painting tasks like sanding and metal fabrication also come with serious immediate and long-term dangers.
Finishing and sanding car paint can expose you to silica, which can cause cancer. Not to mention that solvents and other car paint products contain chemicals that are linked to cancer.
At the same time, inhaling silica dust can cause permanent lung damage and other respiratory problems. For instance, isocyanates, which are a common ingredient in spray-on protective coatings and car paints, are a leading cause of occupational hazards.
Other dangerous Health Risks associated with automotive paint
Car paints contain more causing, flammable & carcinogenic chemical products than any other product used in the automotive repair trade. As a result, these materials can cause various health risks that can be long-lasting & severe to the painter and car owners if certified equipment and safety precautions aren’t enforced.
More notably, if you’re planning to deal with car paint, there are several health risks you’re likely to face.
Airborne sanding particles
Bodywork and car paint refinishing techniques use grinders and abrasive sanders to refinish and smoothen metal and painted surfaces. Unfortunately, this process produces microscopic abrasives of risk, methylene chloride, silica, lead, and chromium.
Without proper ventilation, these fine dust particles become airborne and accumulate in the garage. Inhaling airborne sanding particles, even for a short period, can cause lung irritation and other lung-related diseases like asthma and emphysema.
For that, it’s important to always wear eye protection and respirators when grinding and sanding painted car surfaces.
Flammable chemical products & burns
Car paint prepared with lacquer thinner and reducers can cause flammability issues when spilled, sprayed, or aerated into the atmosphere. This is because they contain alcohol- and other petroleum products like gasoline, kerosene, and cleaning solvents that are combustible, especially when applied under pressure from aerosol cans and spray guns.
If the area you’re working in is not properly ventilated, any spark source can cause the airborne reducers and solvents to ignite in the open air. Automotive ignition, oxygen-acetylene, grinding wheels, and orbital sanders are good examples of ignition sources.
Similarly, improperly stored towels and rags can ignite airborne cleaning solvents by static electricity or spontaneous combustion.
Whichever the source of ignition, flammable explosion due to airborne reducers and solvents from car paint can cause blindness, traumatic concussion, and severe skin burns.
Direct chemical contact
Most auto body paint products contain chemicals that produce destructive and harmful chemicals in case of direct contact with the skin. For instance, cleaning solvents become absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin when you contact them directly with your arms and hands.
These chemicals can cause the same diseases, reactions, and ailments as those caused by inhalation, but on a slower scale. In addition, these chemicals can lead to sinus problems, skin burns, rashes, blisters, eye-watering, and reddening of the skin.
That said, it’s important to always wear protective gear like respirators/ particulate masks, safety goggles, gloves, and thick coveralls when applying car paint. Respirator masks prevent scent-free and microscopic particles from entering your airways during car repair and painting projects.
Dangerous airborne automotive paint fumes
When applying car paint, you’re at risk of inhaling isocyanates, which are found in 2-part paint coatings and paints that are mixed with a hardener. Moreover, spray paints can produce airborne chemicals like cadmium, lead, and chromium, while sealer and primer paints contain ethyl acetate and aliphatic isocyanates.
On the other hand, clear coat paints contain mixed dibasic esters, toluene, and petroleum naphtha, while body trim and metal cleaning work produce adhesive fume, methylene chloride, styrene, and epoxy resins. All these chemicals are airborne and can cause respiratory diseases, skin rashes, allergic reactions, inflammations, nausea, headache, vomiting, and even organ failure.
Impact dangers & blindness
Car painting involves the use of high-speed tools for grinding, sanding, and refinishing. Some of these tools include; buffers, orbital sanders, bead-blasters, air compressor nozzles, and drills.
While these tools make the painting process quicker, they can accidentally through or eject soft or metal into the eyes of the painter, causing blindness or eye injury. This is why you should always wear approved safety goggles when preparing your car for paint application.
Welding stainless steel produces toxic fumes, resulting from surface paint and residual cleaning chemicals such as oxidized-heated metals and primers. These chemicals include iron, arsenic, manganese, chromium, and nickel, which can cause body organ or nerve damage over time.
In some instances, the heavy metals can lead to immediate damage, especially if the exposure is heavy & concentrated.
Car paint products and solvents emit toxic fumes that can have various negative effects on your health. For instance, they contain toxic chemical compounds that may expose you to various types of diseases including cancer of the lung, bladder, and kidney.
For that reason, it’s important to always observe the necessary safety precautions when handling any car paint application project!