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Volatile Organic Compounds

Problem: Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's) are a large family of carbon-containing compounds which are emitted or evaporate into the atmospere where they participate in photochemical reactions. Some VOC's are toxic and/or carcinogenic. Most VOC's, to varying degrees, contribute to the formation of ground level ozone. The VOC's that may cause stratospheric ozone depletion are mostly a chlorine-containing group of compounds known as Chloroflourocarbons or CFC's. They gradually release chlorine and other halogens into the stratosphere. These compounds are particularly effective at destroying the ozone even when present in small quanitites. Carbon tetrachloride, used in the manufacturing of chlorinated rubber based coatings, is an example of a CFC. These compounds are generally not significant precursors in the production of ground level ozone.

The word "toxic" when associated with coatings materials, can be used to describe fatal poisonings but can also be applied to substances which are, to varying degrees, injurious to health.

There are a large number of chemicals used in the formulations of coatings materials that are toxic; these include solvents and monomers, hydrocarbons, isocyanates, and organic fungicides, organic and inorganic metallic compounds.

Toxicity can be divided into three categories viz. acute poisoning which is displayed by immediate, severe symptons. Chronic poisoning, which is reoccuring or of long continuance; and insidious poisoning. Insidious poisoning occurs when the toxic works "secretly." The victim is unaware of the exposure, his health and mind gradually deteriorates and often he is unprepared for remedial action until it is too late.

High concentrations of phenol taken internally or accidently splashed in large volumes on the skin will quickly cause acute poisoning and death, whereas long exposure to low concentrations of lead compounds will lead to chronic lead poisoning.

There are three distinct classes of insidious poison, all of which display what can be termed as "delayed effects." They are carcinogens, mutagens, and tetrogens. Chemical carcinogens are substances which induce cancer in humans and animals. Vinyl chlorides have been identified as causative agents in cancer of the liver.

Mutagens are substances which are capable of altering the body's genetic material i.e. the genes and chromosomes of the cells. Ethylono-oxide, a noncarcinogen, has been found to have mutagenic properties. This mono-epoxide is used in the manufacture of numerous non-ionic surfactants.

Tetrogens are substances which, when ingested by the mother-to-be, can adversely affect her unborn child. Phthalate-esters are suspected as being tetrogens and are frequently used as plasticisors in coating formulations.

Toxic hazards can impact the human body either by affecting the respiratory system, the eyes and/or the skin; the respiratory system being the most significant route for poisonings as far as the paint industry is concerned. Substances used in the formulations of coatings, which can be inhaled, are primarily the vapors of volatile liquids and solids.

Toxic vapors can be irritants, asphyxiants, anaesthetics and systemic poisons. Volatile irritants are capable of preferentially effecting specific areas of the respiratory system, such as the respiratory tract, the lung tissue of the terminal air passages and air sacs.

The greatest potential of harm to the user of paint products other than Weather Bos™ probably lies in the adverse effects it can have on the skin.

Paints frequently contain skin-degrading solvents, as well as a variety of pigments and miscellaneous additives, many of which can be physiologically active chemicals. It is common practice for hand operated equipment to be used without the necessary hand protection (e.g. rubber gloves) and many people applying paint, even when spraying, will often use solvents to clear their skin.

Skin complaints brought on by contact with paint range from mild skin irritation to extreme forms of dermatitus, which is a prescribed industrial disease. Subcutaneous poisoning, (i.e. the passage of toxic substances through the skin) can also occur. Abraded skin, cuts and lesions naturally facilitate the absorption, but to varying degrees intact skin also has the capacity to allow the passage of toxic substances. Propane sulfone, widely used as a paint vehicle, has been identified as being a powerful carcinogen and can cause cancer on skin contact.

Ethylene imine and propylene are both readily absorbed through the skin. Propylene imine is an important chemical intermediate in the production of coating materials. Although the toxic properties of the compound have not been conclusively proven, it is closely related to ethylene imine, which is known to be a carcenogenic, mutagenic and tetrogenic!

The most common eye disorder experienced in the handling of paint is undoubtedly eye irritation from volatile paint solvents. Sometimes, however, the irritation is primarily due to the presence of minor amounts of volatile chemicals such as unreacted monomers (e.g. acrylates) or pungent additives (e.g. allyl compounds).

One of the degredation products produced by thermally disintegrated drying oils (commonly used in oil based paints) is acraaldehyde. This substance, as well as allyl compounds and formaldehyde, have the property of being lachrymatory i.e. they stimulate the tear ducts, making the eyes water. Formaldehyde is the agent alleged to be responsible for blindness in methylated spirits drinkers. Methyl alcohol (methanol) taken internally is oxidized to formaldehyde and routed via the bloodstream to the optic nerve, which is ultimately destroyed.

The Weather Bos™ solution: While it may be less expensive and easier to create products that contain dangerous chemicals and additives, Weather Bos™ CHOOSES to use only environmentally safe ingredients. ALL of our formulas are comprised of natural, plant based oils and resins. So when you apply Weather Bos™, you're putting those naturally occuring products back into use!

We are the industry leaders in products that offer superior performance AND are environmentally safe for commercial and residential use.

Weather Bos™ natural products are safe for the earth and nonhazardous to the user.


More on Environmental Issues:

New Article: S.F. Panel OKs Law on Lead Paint

Avoid Toxins within the Coatings and Paint Industry!

Environmental Terms

CCA Pressure Treated Wood

Environmental Issues: It Is Your Concern

Weather Bos™: An Environmental Solution

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