Super Glue Sensitivity WARNING! Informing Customizers
Posted in Custom Workstation
This post is meant to inform you, not scare you, as to the issue of Super Glue Sensitivity. As you know I try not to blow things out of proportion and I don't misguide people with my information. I take the hobby of customization very seriously and look to help everyone I can no matter their level of involvement in the craft.
I'm sure you all know what Super Glue is. It's more scientifically known as Cyanoacrylate Glue and almost every customizer uses it to adhere plastic parts together and what not. We use a lot of it, more so than regular folks who just need to repair a mug or a fingernail once a month. We use this stuff every day sometimes. And there lies a danger not many are aware of. Without all the fancy science-speak about cyanoacrylate monomers and such, here's the skinny:
Your body will eventually react to an overexposure of Super Glue vapors and you will suddenly become allergic to it.
Scary? Could be. Some people use it a few times and become allergic. Some people use it for 5 years and become allergic. It depends on how long you've been using Super Glue and how your body reacts to it, each person is different. But no matter who you are your body is still absorbing something and it's like a ticking clock. The bad part is that once you develop an allergy to Super Glue it's there for life. In all the reported cases I've checked through, even asking my two medical friends, there's no real way to reverse it. You'll always have a reaction after you develop and allergy to it. One minute you're feeling fine and gluing a door to your Jazz figure and the next your eyes are swelling shut and you can't breathe. Most commonly it's a respiratory attack because breathing in the fumes is what does it. Nobody has reported developing an allergy (unless they were naturally allergic) by just touching super glue. The harmful stuff is absorbed through your lungs, not your skin.
You might be familiar with my friend Black Arachanis who does figure head casts for the customizing community? He's now officially allergic to super glue and the one who got me looking into this. He'd spend hours a day gluing little guide-sticks on to the figure's head before making a mold and was exposed to super glue fumes the entire time. After a few years of this his body suddenly fought back and he couldn't breathe. He was looking for a substitute for super glue because he couldn't work with it anymore. That sudden allergy threatened his hobby/business.
Then I thought... good lord, I use that stuff every day. I can smell it, stings my eyes sometimes. I've been using it for years, on a regular basis since the first Marvel Legends figure series came out, back in 2002 I believe. I also use epoxies and Polyurethane Resins which are known to cause a sensitivity issue faster than super glue. So here I am playing Russian roulette with my health! I searched the web for what kind of precautions you should take and turned to the commercial industry. Car manufactures, the people who spray resin on boats, auto paint guys, what did they do to avoid exposure?
Without spending thousands of dollars for self-contained respirator units or those body suits I found that you need a simple respirator that cleans out Organic Vapors. A simple dust mask does nothing for fumes, it just removes particles. Only a mask with filters certified to remove organic vapors will protect against super glue/paint/epoxy/resin fumes. After calling some shops getting prices and checking on line I found a mask that does what you need and for a very good price.
3M Organic Vapor Half Mask (You'll have to check another thread of mine to find the cheap link, FigureRealm doesn't allow links!)
It also turns out the mask has pads that remove particles from sanding/dremelling. The link above also has the best price I could find for one, given shipping costs and it was based right here in California, shipped to my door in 1 day. The mask is extremely comfortable to wear and honestly, looks cool, like some Metal Gear spy gas mask when you put it on. I know what you're thinking tho, "I have to put that thing on every time?" It's not hard and goes on/off in 2 seconds. One strap goes around your neck and the other over the back of your head. Or you can just use the back of the head one. I could breathe easier in that than I could in a normal dust mask, which surprised the hell out of me! Makes a cool 'pssssht' noise when you exhale and I bet I could use it for part of a Helghast costume for Halloween, heh. Both the organic and particle filters are replaceable.
You breathe through that mask when you're working with super glue. I'm sure if you just needed a dab or two you could skip it, hold your breath or blow the fumes away, but I'm using mine every time. And especially when I use my epoxies/solvents too. I don't smell any of the chemicals I work with and no longer get headaches after working with my resins. It's the best $30 I ever spent for customizing in my opinion. And for anyone who kitbashes on a regular basis I can't stress enough how important your health is. Half the stuff we use is toxic and we're usually in a garage/basement/enclosed room doing this right? Ok, enough talk. Take this information as you will. Shop around if you want a different mask but make sure it removes Organic Vapors, that's the important thing. The link I provided was cheaper than the ones I found at the Auto Parts/Home Depot store and didn't even come with the particle filters. Tho the organic vapor filters will remove particles, they'll just clog up with those first and are more expensive to replace.
And you can google Super Glue Allergy or Super Glue Allergic Reaction to find more.