2 PACK PAINT THE DANGERS
Banned in the European Union, 2 pack paints (volatile organic compounds (VOC). Have in recent times become common place in paint shops and back yard painters all over Australia
Dangers of Isocyanates (VOC)
Isocyanates are highly reactive chemicals that have a low molecular weight. These qualities allow isocyanate products to be sprayed as a mist or vapor and they are commonly used in a variety of industry processes.
Direct contact with the skin can cause irritation, but isocyanates are at their most dangerous during application. Two-pack paint products contain harmful isocyanates that irritate the membranes of the eyes and damage the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts. Users of isocyanate materials become sensitized, and this can cause ailments such as asthma if exposure to isocyanates occurs in the future.
Modern body shops use respiratory equipment to protect their workforce from the dangers of isocyanate poisoning. The most common form of personal protection equipment is an air-fed mask, which feeds a controlled supply of clean air to isocyanate users while spraying is in progress. According to a report by the Health and Safety Executive published in 2009, sprayers are 80 times more likely to develop asthma than a worker in any other environment, and this makes mask use mandatory.
Reports of may suffering nasty affects even while using both ventilated and air fed masks are becoming more common with the increased adoption of the use of 2 pack paint systems throughout Australia.
The Short-Term Effects of Isocyanates
Early signs of isocyanate damage can include red eyes that continually water because the membranes have been eroded. Workers will often experience coldlike symptoms including deep coughing and a runny nose.
The chest will often feel tight, even when a worker is at home, and breathlessness and wheezing can occur when the worker is resting or sleeping. As exposure to isocyanate materials increases, the symptom become progressively worse until the worker develops severe asthma, which is incurable.
The Long -term Effects of Isocyanates
The effects of isocyanates over a longer period time are more severe. Workers often find that they have to leave their jobs because they fail mandatory lung tests, and this can result in financial hardship if alternative employment cannot be found.
For many, the effects of isocyanate poisoning become more concerning as they get older, and many former paint sprayers in country's where the product has been used for several years, have to use ventilator equipment to breathe more easily. In some cases, the effects of isocyanates can even be fatal.
From my personal experience and investigations, isocyanate can also be mistaken as symptoms of a heart attack, with many not knowing the reasons for their sickness.
Symptoms include; ■ chest tightness, often occurring outside working hours in the evening or early morning; ■ persistent cough; ■ persistent cold; ■ wheezing; ■ breathlessness; and ■flu-like shivers and heart attack related symptoms
Build up of these chemicals in the blood stream and lungs can be fatal, which has resulted in bans in several countries I have to conclude that Australia should look at similar bans, in the short term I would advise an immediate enquiry by the EPA, including the investigation of air quality around even professional spray painting booths, and a temporary ban on the sale of these products to non professional users.
At the very least we MUST ensure by way of a public campaign that people are at the very least aware of the dangers so as they can make an informed choice whether or not the take up a job working with such dangerous chemicals, or in fact use them as a hobby based choice.
My enquiries in recent weeks show many Australians are falling victim to the use of 2 pack based paint systems, and they will suffer for life, and with the chance of death from its use, immediate action is not optional.
I have spoken with paint shops, painters and even Ambulance workers and the problem does exist and is increasing at a rapid rate, so action must be taken now.
It is highly probable that from my casual use over a couple of months that I have already done unrepairable damage to my lungs, so I hope that no other users or workers ensure the same.
Mark Aldridge Independent Candidate