Detailing Health Risks
This is only a brief summary of some of the health hazards and risks to your Health and Wellbeing while detailing
To remove scratches requires the removal of paint using a polish or compound. Dust generated by sanding and buffing is a major risk. The most common abrasive used is silica, which is much, much harder than aluminium oxide; however, many formulators are also using aluminium oxide. Most good quality compounds and polishes contain abrasives and are a combination of both silica and aluminium oxide.
a) Quartz sand (silica) Inhaling finely divided crystalline silica dust in very small quantities (OSHA allows 0.1 mg/m3) over time can lead to silicosis, bronchitis, silica polishes and compounds are carcinogenic, as the dust becomes lodged in the lungs and continuously irritates them, reducing lung capacities. (Silica does not dissolve over time.)
b) Aluminium oxide is used for its hardness and strength. It is widely used as a coarse or fine abrasive
c) Automotive paints contain isocyanates (and polyisocyanate), the hardeners or catalysts in clear coats and some primers. Isocyanates are strong dermal and lung sensitizers and the leading cause of occupational asthma, so protect your skin and lungs from exposure to paints containing isocyanates.
Isocyanates used in clear coat paint are powerful irritants to the mucous membranes of the eyes and gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts.
Direct skin contact can also cause marked inflammation. Isocyanates can also sensitize workers, making them subject to severe asthma attacks if they are exposed again. Death from severe asthma in some sensitized subjects has been reported.
Be cognizant that whatever you use an abrasive product on a paint surface the chemicals in the compound and any oxidized paint you use become airborne, so ensure you use suitable personal protection equipment (PPE) minimum safety glasses and an approved filtered face mask. The real danger is inhalation of the particulates as we are usually in close proximity for extended periods of time when polishing
Respiratory Protection (N95): Materials such as aluminium oxide (Aluminium oxide is on EPA's TRI list if it is a fibrous form) or silicon carbide (Nuisance Particulate-Accumulation in lungs) used in polishes and compounds, and powdered fillers (Crystalline silica poses a serious inhalation hazard because it can cause silicosis). They represent a hazard to your lungs and may cause respiratory distress.
A NIOSH-approved half face respirator equipped with a combination filter cartridge should be worn while using them
2. Noise Levels
[: any unwanted sound. Noise is measured in decibels and the scale often employed dB(A) is weighted to the range perceived by the human ear. The decibel system is frequently misinterpreted as it is based on a logarithmic scale. This means that a sound level of 100dB (A) contains twice the energy of a sound level of 97dB (A)]
An expert on noise, K.D. Kryter (1996) in his text, Handbook of Hearing and the Effects of Noise, (New York Academic Press) defined noise as "acoustic signals which can negatively affect the physiological or psychological well-being of an individual."
Reference levels - Normal conversation - 60-dB A, City Traffic (inside car) - 85dB A
Noise Levels dB (A)
What are the occupational exposure limits for workplace noise?
Occupational exposure limits (OELs) for noise are typically given as the maximum duration of exposure permitted for various noise levels.
Level of noise dB (A) Maximum daily exposure
85 8 hours
91 2 hours
95 1 hour
97 0.5 hour
100 0.25 hour
What is the criterion level? The criterion level, often abbreviated as Lc, is the steady noise level permitted for a full eight-hour work shift. This is 90 dB (A) in most jurisdictions, but in some jurisdictions it is 85 dB (A).
A rise of 10 dB in sound level corresponds roughly to a doubling of subjective loudness. Therefore, a sound of 80 dB is twice as loud as a sound of 70 dB which is twice as loud as a sound of 60 dB. Correspondingly, the 80 dB sound is 4 times louder than the 60 dB sound.
The frequency (Hz) can cause some sounds to be perceived as loader (dB) than they actually are, distance also plays an important role in the perceived sound level. Sound levels decrease by approximately 6 dB every time the distance from the source is doubled.
A noise level of 35 to 40 dB outside a dwelling is acceptable and a maximum of 45dB should be adhered to in order to prevent disturbance to residents. Basically, noise is unwanted sound. It is a pollutant and a hazard to human health and hearing. In fact, it has been described as the most pervasive pollutant in America.
1. Hearing Protection; the constant pitch of a polishing machine could affect your hearing so wearing ear plugs would be wise to protect you from hearing loss. Studies have shown that one half of workers that wear ear defenders receive half or less of the protection they should. This is because their ear defenders are not worn correctly or continuously due to improper or uncomfortable fit. Ear plugs that are comfortable fit every time and are also easy to use; the result of this is that the user wears them, and that they do the job.UK - http://www.ultimateear.com/industrial.php
Machine noise - sound pressure (SPL) dB. (A) or acoustic pressure is the local pressure deviation from the ambient (average, or equilibrium) atmospheric pressure caused by a sound wave. Reference levels – Normal speech 60 dB Busy traffic 70 dB
Meguiar's G110V2, 55 dB
· Porter- Cable 7424XP, 55dB
· Flex XC 3401 VRG, 79 dB
· Cyclo Polisher Model 5, 77 dB
· Makita 9227C 76dB
· DeWalt DW849, 84 dB
· Air compressors typically range between 45 and 95 dB.
· Vacuum cleaner 80-90 dB
The above information has been provided by the Manufacturer and TOGWT® cannot guarantee its accuracy.
Safety hazards - always remember that you are using a power tool that must be given the respect it deserves. As with running any power tool, read the manual and understand how to safely operate it and what its limits are and the potential dangers that could result by using it. Never forget for a moment that given the right conditions, it could kick back and jump out of your hands. Always wear safety glasses and hearing protection. Also, polishing compounds often contain silicates that become airborne in the polishing process, inhaled they could represent real health concerns. Read the safety data sheets and follow safety directions. Personally, I almost always wear glasses, hearing protection, a quality dust filter or mask and a buffing apron when polishing
There are also levels of noise exposure which must not be exceeded (but take account of any reduction in exposure provided by hearing protection): exposure limit values (ELV) - daily or weekly exposure of 87 dB or a peak sound pressure of 140 dB.
One of the problems encountered when working on older cars is asbestos. In the years before the dangers of asbestosis were understood, asbestos was a common material used in certain car components. It is therefore essential to have an understanding of what you are dealing with, before diving in and pulling your classic car apart.
Perhaps the most obvious and well known area to be careful with is brake dust, specifically the dust that falls out of your brake drum when checking the shoes for wear etc. Great care must be taken not to inhale the dust that can drop out when the brake drum is freed off.
4. The dangers of Auto paints
At one time, VOC's (volatile organic compounds) were required for paint and finishes to perform properly. Such paints could contain up to 10,000 chemicals, of which approximately 300 were toxins, and 150 were linked to kidney damage, liver damage, or cancer
Lead pigments have been used for many years in auto enamels and lacquers. Lead is a poisonous substance to animals. It damages the nervous system and causes brain disorders. Lead pigments were used in lead paint for white as well as yellow, orange, and red. Most uses have been discontinued due of the dangers of lead poisoning. However, lead chromate is still in industrial use.
For older cars, the refinish industry can only provide accurate colour matches to vehicles that currently have paint containing lead on them by using the same lead-based pigments. By the mid-1980s, a significant shift in lead end-use patterns had taken place. If you are using these products, you should be careful when sanding-down old paints. Some older cars may also contain lead auto-body filler.
Aerosol Spray Paint - many of the paints sold in aerosol cans as touch-up paints contain lead. These are used by car owners to camouflage small areas of paint chip damage.
5. Lead in Gasoline (Petrol)
Tetraethyllead (TEL) a colourless, viscous liquid was once used extensively as a gasoline additive for its ability to increase the fuel's octane rating.TEL remains an ingredient of 100 octane aviation fuel (avgas) for propeller planes (not jet engines) and until recently in professional racing. NASCAR in 1998 switched to unleaded fuel after years of research and when blood tests of NASCAR teams revealed elevated levels of the metal. TEL usage was largely discontinued because of the toxicity of lead
Most organic solvents are flammable or highly flammable, depending on their volatility. Many organic solvents are recognized by NIOSH as carcinogens (e.g., benzene, carbon tetrachloride, trichloroethylene), reproductive hazards (e.g., 2-ethoxyethanol, 2-methoxyethanol, methyl chloride), and neurotoxins (e.g., n-hexane, tetrachloroethylene, toluene).
There are three main types:
1. Oxygenated Solvents- alcohols, glycol ethers, ketones, esters, and glycol ether esters. Oxygenated solvents are synthesized from other chemicals to form the desired solvent. Those solvents are typically of a high purity with specifications ranging from 99.0% to 99.9% purity.
2. Hydrocarbon Solvents (Petroleum Distillates) - aliphatic (include methane, propane, and kerosene, they are flammable and may be explosively flammable).
3. Aromatic hydrocarbons- are the most toxic compounds found in petroleum products and include such substances as para-xylene, benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, and xylene, which are all volatile organic compounds (VOC)
Notes- when using solvents always use Nitrile medical gloves (usually the blue or purple ones) if you are going to be using them for any length of time
7. Acid Cleaners
Used as a wheel surface cleaner Ammonium hydrogen fluoride (NH4HF2) Or Ammonium bifluoride SiO2 (BF) is miss-classified as the safe alternative to hydrogen fluoride, once mixed with water it becomes hydrogen fluoride one of the most common, and dangerous, acid wheel cleaners used in automatic carwashes today.
Its effectiveness removing brake dust and difficult contaminants from wheels is undisputed, but most chemists say Ammonium bifluoride presents an unjustifiable and potentially lethal risk. (See TOGWT article "Detailing Chemicals Identification")
The first line of defence is the products MSDS, obtain one before you use any product, the second line of defence is to use the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as protection from potential health hazards. And the most important line of defence is to allow common sense to prevail and proceed with due caution
8. Hand-arm vibration
Vibration can cause a range of conditions called hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS). The best known is vibration white finger (VWF), but vibration also links to specific diseases such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
HAVS and VWF usually result from damage to the fine capillaries in the end of your fingers which reduces blood flow to the extremities of fingers and hands which take on a 'blanched' effect appearing white.
[What are the symptoms of hand-arm vibration syndrome?
Hand-arm vibration exposure affects the blood flow (vascular effect) and causes loss of touch sensation (neurological effect) in fingers. One of the earliest methods used for identifying the severity of these symptoms was the Taylor-Pelmear classification method, which lists the classification of the clinical stages of vibration induced white finger. This classification was widely used in the past] (CCOHS)
For some people symptoms appear after only a few months of exposure but for others it may take years. The symptoms are likely to get worse with repeated exposure and can lead to permanent damage and disfigurement. They can severely limit the jobs that someone is able to do, as well as affect family and social activities.
The symptoms include any combination of: tingling and numbness in the fingers; not being able to feel things properly; loss of strength in the hands; and/or fingers going white (blanching) and becoming red and painful on recovery (particularly in the cold and wet, and probably only in the tips at first). This disorder is cumulative; the longer the symptoms are allowed to persist the worse it will become DO NOT ignore; seek the help of a health care professional
How tight a grip you have on the tool will make all the difference; hold vibrating tools as lightly as possible, consistent with safe work practices; allowing the tool do the work. Gloves are available that are designed to exceed the rigorous requirements of the ISO Standard 10819 (ANSI S3.4-2002) for the absorption of vibration due to direct hand contact with vibrating equipment, machinery or hand held tools.
9. High Ambient Temperatures
Seek medical attention immediately if you have any of these symptoms:
· Warm dry skin with no perspiration
· Rapid pulse
· Confusion, black outs and/or unconsciousness
· High fever
· Throbbing headache
· Nausea or vomiting
Heat Exhaustion Signs/Symptoms:
· Profuse sweating
· Muscle cramps
· Nausea and/or vomiting
· Skin may or may not be pale and clammy.
Seek shade, loosen any tight clothing i.e. belt and shoes, and HYDRATE with cool water
Chill Mate Neck Scarf - helps to temporarily keep your whole body cool by evaporative cooling, designed to promote natural cooling relief in hot environments. Provides almost immediate relief by lowering body temperature by cooling the carotid arteries in the neck; your body’s main arteries pass through your neck and it’s where the arteries are amongst the closest to the surface. Studies show that these simple cooling techniques may help reduce your core body temperature by as much as 34. OF (1.5. OC). Easy to activate by soaking in cool water leaving the outside virtually dry to the touch, without refrigerating or freezing it lasts for up to 8 hours
[: the protrusion of an organ or the fascia of an organ through the wall of the cavity that normally contains it]
There are different kinds of hernia, each requiring a specific management or treatment. Usually, there is no obvious cause of a hernia. Sometimes hernias occur with heavy lifting or any activity that raises the pressure inside the abdomen.
By far the most common hernias develop in the abdomen, when a weakness in the abdominal wall evolves into a localized hole, or defect, through which adipose tissue, or abdominal organs covered with peritoneum, may protrude. Another common hernia involves the spinal discs and causes sciatica. A hiatal hernia occurs when the stomach protrudes into the mediastinum through the oesophageal opening in the diaphragm.
Hernias may or may not present with either pain at the site, a visible or palpable lump, or in some cases vaguer symptoms resulting from pressure on an organ which has become "stuck" in the hernia, sometimes leading to organ dysfunction
Symptoms - most often there are no symptoms; however, sometimes there may be discomfort or pain. The discomfort may be worse when you stand, strain, or lift heavy objects. In time, most people will complain about a growth that feels tender and is growing.
Although a hernia may only cause mild discomfort, it may get bigger and strangulate. This means that the tissue is stuck inside the hole and its blood supply has been cut off. If this occurs, you will need urgent surgery.
A health care provider can confirm that you have a hernia during a physical exam. The growth may increase in size when you cough, bend, lift, or strain. Surgery is the only treatment that can permanently fix a hernia
Material data sheets (MSDS)
Be aware of dangerous ingredients and request Materials Safety and Data Sheets (MSDS) from the manufacturer if there is any question.
Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) is required under the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard. The MSDS is a detailed informational document prepared by the manufacturer or importer of a hazardous chemical.
It describes the physical and chemical properties of the product. MSDS’s contain useful information such as flash point, toxicity, procedures for spills and leaks, and storage guidelines.
Information included in a Material Safety Data Sheet aids in the selection of safe products, helps you understand the potential health and physical hazards of a chemical and describes how to respond effectively to exposure situations. Although there is an effort currently underway to standardize MSDS’s the quality of individual MSDS’s vary. A MSDS may be useful but it cannot substitute for prudent practices and comprehensive risk management.
An MSDS should be available for every chemical you use. Read these and follow the recommendations for safe use and disposal of the material. The target audience for information in a MSDS is the occupation worker who may be exposed to chemicals at work. However, much of the information is also relevant to consumers.
Read the manufacturers application instructions and then obtain and read the MSDS sheet to ascertain the chemicals used. Although it should be said that an MSDS is a document that contains details of the hazards associated with a particular chemical and provides information regarding its safe use. The MSDS is required to state the chemical's risks, safety and impact on the environment.
An MSDS is a fact sheet developed by manufacturers describing the chemical properties of a product. Material Safety Data Sheets include brand-specific information such as physical data (solid, liquid, colour, melting point, flash point, etc.), health effects, first aid, reactivity, storage, handling, disposal, personal protection and spill/leak procedures.
How to Read a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/maho/gemare/gemare_012.cfm
Chemical Information (MSDS) A-Z- http://www.ehso.com/msds.php
Definitions of Terms Used in Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) - http://www.ehso.com/msdsdefs.php
Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS)
Each CAS registry number (often referred to as CAS #) is a unique numeric identifier that designates only one substance; it has no specific chemical significance, but is a link to a wealth of information about a specific chemical substance. Since CAS Registry Numbers are not dependent upon any system of chemical nomenclature, they can provide a reliable common link between the various nomenclatures terms used to describe substances. And serve as an international resource for chemical substance identifiers used by scientists, industry, and regulatory bodies
Contamination of surface waters arises from the rinse ate discharging to storm drains, which in turn most commonly drain to rivers and lakes. Chief pollutants include phosphates; cleaning chemicals (degreasers, etc.) oil and grease. This is almost exclusively an issue for home/driveway washing. You should never assume that aqueous solutions can be disposed of untreated via the storm drainage system. Pending regulations are in place (Clean Water Act and Ground Water Pollution) to limit the amount of contaminated water that is allowed to be discharged into storm water systems (i.e. street vehicle washing)
Always dispose of all non-biodegradable materials from your vehicle cleaning in a responsible manner. Waste run-off must be disposed of in accordance with federal, state and local environmental control regulations.
Disposal of Aqueous Solutions
One should never assume that aqueous solutions can be disposed of down the drain. The storm drain system takes all the water from outside homes and businesses (rain, over watering of lawns) and sends it untreated straight to our local creeks, rivers, bays and eventually the ocean. The storm drain system is designed as a flood control system to allow water from heavy rainstorms to flow quickly to our waterways to avoid flooding of our streets, homes and businesses. However, the rainwater can pick up pollutants as large as shopping carts or as microscopic as pesticides and fertilizer and flush it all into our waterways damaging the fish, plants and other living things in our eco-system.
With few exceptions, it is illegal for anyone to throw, dispose of or allow anything other than rainwater into the storm drains. Try to divert car wash water to a landscaped or planted area. Your local water treatment authority or publicly owned treatment works will have information on treatment and disposal of these cleaners. Adjustment of pH and dilution are usually required before disposal to a drain.
Always comply with current water usage and disposal regulations / water usage restrictions.
A car care product may be biodegradable and environmentally safe but just remember the dirt, oil and road grease you are cleaning with it are not, once rinsed off the vehicle paint surface the resultant solution is no longer biodegradable and environmentally safe
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Protection from Potential Health Hazards
1. Warning: Always use ground fault protection interruption (GFPI) when using any electrical device around water
2. Eye Protection: I would strongly advise the wearing of safety glasses or visor when operating any machine polisher.
3. Ear Protection; the constant pitch of a polishing machine could affect your hearing so wearing ear plugs would be wise to protect you from hearing loss.
4. Hand Protection; Gloves- with the verity of chemicals a detailer uses on a daily basis wearing chemical-resistant gloves resist penetration and permeation, and will provide protection against dermatitis and chemical burns. Gloves can provide protection, but they must be chosen with care, the proper selection matched to the hazard is critical. Chemical-resistant gloves resist penetration and permeation, and cam protect against dermatitis, chemical burns and corrosion.
5. Respiratory Protection (N95): Materials such as aluminium oxide (Aluminium oxide is on EPA's TRI list if it is a fibrous form) or silicon carbide (Nuisance Particulate-Accumulation in lungs) used in polishes and compounds, and powdered fillers (Crystalline silica poses a serious inhalation hazard because it can cause silicosis) and Isocyanate clear coat residue represent a hazard to your lungs and may cause respiratory distress. Use a NIOSH-approved half face respirator equipped with a combination filter cartridge should be worn while using them
6. Consult the current 3M Respiratory Selection Guide for additional information or call 1-800-243-4630 for 3M technical assistance.
7. Material Safety Data Sheets: Use a ring binder or other filing system to ensure the appropriate MSDS is always available to identify hazardous substances
8. Work Hygienic Practices: Rinse cloves under running water before removing them
9. Protect yourself, work safe. As in all things, allow common sense to prevail and proceed with due caution
GFCI and Extension Cord
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter and Extension cord selection is based on two main principles. First, the cable should be able to carry the current load imposed on it without overheating. It should be able to do this in the most extreme conditions of temperature it will encounter during its working life.
Second, it should offer sufficiently sound earthing to (a) limit the voltage to which people are exposed to a safe level and (b) allow the fault current to trip the fuse or MCB in a short time. To meet these requirements requires consideration of the circuit load current (AMPS) a reasonable voltage drop, cable thickness (G) and length (feet) and the over-current protection device
Prime Wire & Cable Duplex GFCI -residual current device is also known as a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) junction Box with 6-Ft. cord, Model# GF200806 Portable GFCI duplex receptacle detects power leaks and shuts off electricity in less than a second to prevent shock. Test and reset buttons Tough jobsite box with 6-ft. 12/3 SJTW power cord UL listed, meets OSHA standards.
Prime Wire & Cable 50-Ft extension 12/3 Neon Power Cord — Blue, Model# NS514830 Bright NEON extension cord stands out for easy identification. 12 Gauge, SJTW, 3 prong cord features super-flexible vinyl jacket with a cold temperature rating of -31°F. LIGHTED connector indicates when power is on. Cord is water and flame resistant and rated at 15 amps, 125V, 1875 watts, UL listed and meets OSHA standards – Northern Tool
Wire Resistance and Voltage Drop Calculator - http://www.stealth316.com/2-wire-resistance.htm
1. Wikipedia® Encyclopaedia
2. American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH®) publications
3. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Regulations & Compliance Links
4. Automotive Detailing Inside & Out; a knowledge base for the perfectionist", by Jon Miller
5. TOGWT™ Series of Detailing Articles, by Jon Miller
To be of real practical use, a subject like automotive detailing requires a great deal of research, and updating as new products become available. The advent of materials like detailing clay, micro fibre technologies and finely milled micro diminishing abrasives, suitable for ceramic nanotechnology paints are examples of why it’s so important to monitor the industries new products, chemical technologies and ideas that are constantly being introduced, as are the techniques for applying them, hence all of the in-depth articles will be up-dated and revised on a regular basis
Always be willing to learn; because the more you learn, the more you’ll realize what you don’t know. You should never stop learning, and your quest for information should be part of your everyday process. It is said that knowledge is power, with the caveat that it includes access to a reliable information sources. I would like to think that these articles become an asset to anyone who is new to detailing and to professional’s alike, as well as industry experts who seek to advance their knowledge.
This is not a product vendor’s catalogue, nor am I a vendor pretending to be an educator, as there are a lot of companies that are now sponsoring detailing forums, giving advice and preaching that only the product they sell or manufacture are suitable. In reality they are just advertisements, with the appearance of educators, mere salesman. Those who have something to sell can be very persuasive, often using marketing pseudo-science (i.e. blurring the distinction between science and fiction) to make a great case while completely ignoring meaningful facts, like their product adds nothing of real value.
I purchase all the products I use, so the endorsement is entirely personal and commercially unbiased, the product recommendation is based on "Does exactly what it says on the tin" and it suits my detailing goals. The products mentioned have been personally subjected to extensive laboratory (using state of the art instruments and methodologies in some of the world's most prestigious labs) as well as field testing, and using the methodology and tools cited, which may or may not be the same as those recommended by the manufacturer.
It has been my experience that they will perform the task more than adequately, hence the personal recommendation, as this testing is carried out without sponsorship I have no intention of publishing any test results. Using the methodology and tools cited, which may or may not be the same as those recommended by the manufacturer.
I hope these articles are informative. They are based on the current status of technical development as well as my experience with the products.
By having some understanding of the ‘What’ and ‘Why’ as well as the ‘How’ along with a little science to help you understand how the chemicals we use react, you can achieve the results you desire.
I would appreciate it if you would share these articles as it helps other detailers further their knowledge.
As always if you have questions, I’ll do my best to answer; bear in mind the only stupid questions is the one that was unasked. Questions and/ or constructive comments are always appreciated
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