login   |    register
Modeling in General: Health and Safety
Have a question about what is safe or an experience that might warn others?
Safety advice needed (fumes)
Phil5000
_VISITCOMMUNITY
New Zealand
Joined: May 13, 2013
KitMaker: 151 posts
AeroScale: 0 posts
Posted: Thursday, October 10, 2019 - 06:38 PM UTC
Hi fellas,

I could use your advice and input about this. I'm pretty sensitive to fumes so I take safety quite seriously. I use a quality silicone half mask respirator with organic vapour cartridges and filters when I do any spraying. I was doing some weathering work using an AK enamel weathering product and Mig Odorless Thinner and I wore the mask as well as having a desk fan next to me to blow the fumes away. After half an hour I felt quite ill. I don't know how this happened.

Are organic vapour cartridges the wrong ones for this? Or am I overestimating how much protection the mask can offer? I did have the model very close to my face due to my eyesight.

Can anyone suggest how I can make sure this doesn't happen again? I'm thinking I might have to quit modelling altogether because of this.

Thanks guys.

Worth mentioning they were brand new cartridges, I was clean shaven and checked the seal. I store the mask and cartridges in a tuppaware box.
RobinNilsson
Staff MemberTOS Moderator
KITMAKER NETWORK
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Stockholm, Sweden
Joined: November 29, 2006
KitMaker: 5,461 posts
AeroScale: 14 posts
Posted: Thursday, October 10, 2019 - 07:17 PM UTC
A first test would be to use the mask for the same amount of time WITHOUT using any of the paints and stuff.
Read a book, watch YouTube, do some sanding and dry-fitting (no glue!!), do anything that entails the same amount of physical work. There is a huge difference between sitting still with a mask and running 200 meters ...

Once you have established that working with the mask doesn't affect you then it is time to test the individual products you were using. One at the time!

Have you considered contact allergy? Could you be reacting to paints/thinners getting on your skin?

/ Robin
southpier
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Alberta, Canada
Joined: December 11, 2009
KitMaker: 445 posts
AeroScale: 15 posts
Posted: Thursday, October 10, 2019 - 08:59 PM UTC
I think "eyes" are a source of ingress for all sorts of nasty stuff.

Q: have you tried using sealed goggles?
CMOT
Staff MemberEditor-in-Chief
ARMORAMA
#406
_VISITCOMMUNITY
England - South West, United Kingdom
Joined: May 14, 2006
KitMaker: 10,805 posts
AeroScale: 276 posts
Posted: Thursday, October 10, 2019 - 11:58 PM UTC
If you are that sensitive to airborne substances I would suggest you purchase a spray booth and work within that environment. They are not that expensive and I believe would solve 99.9% of your issues if used in conjunction with a mask.
Kevlar06
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Washington, United States
Joined: March 15, 2009
KitMaker: 3,058 posts
AeroScale: 702 posts
Posted: Friday, October 11, 2019 - 04:33 AM UTC
Wow, either you're really sensitive to enamel thinner, or there's something else going on here. When was the last time you changed the filters in your mask-- you said they are stored in a Tupperware box, and were new, but we're they actually sealed in an airtight wrapper? These half masks also range in quality, so you may not be getting the protection you think you are. If you can smell any fumes with the mask on and sealed, then it's not protecting you. If it's not properly sealed around your face, it's not protecting you. If your filters are old (left unwrapped for long periods) or are not properly inserted, they also won't give you full protection. Don't forget, they can be subject to moisture, which in turn results in bacteria or mold growth. Are you working in a tightly enclosed space? Even some of the best masks can be compromised by concentrating vapor particles in a confined space. You also didn't describe your symptoms other than saying you felt "quite ill". Typically, headache and dizziness or "lightheadedness" are symptoms of inhaling the fumes from enamels and lacquers (or from caffeine deprivation if you drink lots of caffeine infused products), so, just "feeling quite ill" may or may not be the reaction to a toxic agent. Robin has a good suggestion above about doing a little experimentation, but I'd check out your mask. Press it into your face while inhaling, it should remain collapsed if the seal is good-- if not it'll be lose and there will be gaps. Also, check the exhaust disks to make sure they are working properly, sometimes they can be stuck (by moisture) in the open position, which will allow outside air in through the exhaust. Personally, I don't wear a mask that's not Mine Safety Approved (MSA in the US), and I replace the filters and outlet disks after about every 100 hours of use.
VR, Russ
barkingdigger
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
ARMORAMA
#013
_VISITCOMMUNITY
England - East Anglia, United Kingdom
Joined: June 20, 2008
KitMaker: 3,567 posts
AeroScale: 0 posts
Posted: Friday, October 11, 2019 - 04:59 AM UTC
The other thing is maybe avoiding enamels and other volatile paints/thinners. I use water-based acrylics for most of my painting these days, which is kinder on my lungs and the family's noses, but does take some adjustment to new techniques since they are not re-soluble with extra doses of thinner - you kinda get one shot at getting them right before they dry.
Scarred
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Washington, United States
Joined: March 11, 2016
KitMaker: 1,219 posts
AeroScale: 24 posts
Posted: Friday, October 11, 2019 - 05:11 AM UTC
Just because a thinner is odorless doesn't mean it won't produce fumes. A vented paintbooth would be a good place to start after testing your mask. Like you I have my face in my work unless I remember to put on my reading specs and I can feel fumes getting in my eyes especially CA fumes, so you could be exposing yourself that way. The other thing is how ventilated is your work space? If you are in a small area a fan is just gonna blow the fumes around not get rid of them. I just turned a third of my living room into my hobby space so it's next to impossible to fume it up. If you are in a small room put a fan in the door to either blow fumes out or fresh air in. You need to exchange the air in your work space quite often especially while painting. Finally you may have to do away with enamels completely but at least acrylics are coming out with (nearly) equivalent products all the time.
justsendit
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Colorado, United States
Joined: February 24, 2014
KitMaker: 2,869 posts
AeroScale: 59 posts
Posted: Friday, October 11, 2019 - 06:20 AM UTC
I’m with Tom and Patrick with regards to acrylics.

Only on the rare occasion, like when I need to prime PE parts, will I spray with Tamiya “rattle-can” primer (for better bonding to metal). However, I go full-on mask, spray booth, open window, turn on the floor fans, and then I’ll leave the room until air has recycled. If I don’t follow these measures, I may as well just give up modeling... It’s acrylics for me! 🎨

—mike
Kevlar06
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Washington, United States
Joined: March 15, 2009
KitMaker: 3,058 posts
AeroScale: 702 posts
Posted: Saturday, October 12, 2019 - 05:47 AM UTC

Quoted Text

The other thing is maybe avoiding enamels and other volatile paints/thinners. I use water-based acrylics for most of my painting these days, which is kinder on my lungs and the family's noses, but does take some adjustment to new techniques since they are not re-soluble with extra doses of thinner - you kinda get one shot at getting them right before they dry.




I'd just make one comment here. Many modelers believe "water based" acrylics are "safe". Largely because they have no smell. But that's not entirely true. Any aerosolized paint, wether it be solvent or water based, can still be hazardous when inhaled. Many latex "water based" paints contain ammonia, which is toxic. Tamiya "water based" paints are actually Acrylic lacquers, and in large concentrations can be hazardous. A good rule is to always wear some form of respirator protection when airbrush painting. Especially when doing so in a confined space. Any particulate mater inhaled can be dangerous over time. Those fine pigment particles can easily end up in nasal passages and lungs. If you leave a cloud of paint in the air, you should be wearing a mask. When I airbrush with acrylics, I still use a form-fitting gauze fiber mask (think one of those surgeons style masks) from 3M. Those will filter out 95% of particular matter in "water based" acrylics . But they won't filter out the volatile components of lacquers and enamels. For those you need something more robust. But don't be fooled into thinking acrylics are completely safe.
VR, Russ
justsendit
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Colorado, United States
Joined: February 24, 2014
KitMaker: 2,869 posts
AeroScale: 59 posts
Posted: Saturday, October 12, 2019 - 05:57 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Any particulate mater inhaled can be dangerous over time. Those fine pigment particles can easily end up in nasal passages and lungs. If you leave a cloud of paint in the air, you should be wearing a mask.


100% ☁️🤧
CMOT
Staff MemberEditor-in-Chief
ARMORAMA
#406
_VISITCOMMUNITY
England - South West, United Kingdom
Joined: May 14, 2006
KitMaker: 10,805 posts
AeroScale: 276 posts
Posted: Saturday, October 12, 2019 - 08:28 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text

The other thing is maybe avoiding enamels and other volatile paints/thinners. I use water-based acrylics for most of my painting these days, which is kinder on my lungs and the family's noses, but does take some adjustment to new techniques since they are not re-soluble with extra doses of thinner - you kinda get one shot at getting them right before they dry.




I'd just make one comment here. Many modelers believe "water based" acrylics are "safe". Largely because they have no smell. But that's not entirely true. Any aerosolized paint, wether it be solvent or water based, can still be hazardous when inhaled. Many latex "water based" paints contain ammonia, which is toxic. Tamiya "water based" paints are actually Acrylic lacquers, and in large concentrations can be hazardous. A good rule is to always wear some form of respirator protection when airbrush painting. Especially when doing so in a confined space. Any particulate mater inhaled can be dangerous over time. Those fine pigment particles can easily end up in nasal passages and lungs. If you leave a cloud of paint in the air, you should be wearing a mask. When I airbrush with acrylics, I still use a form-fitting gauze fiber mask (think one of those surgeons style masks) from 3M. Those will filter out 95% of particular matter in "water based" acrylics . But they won't filter out the volatile components of lacquers and enamels. For those you need something more robust. But don't be fooled into thinking acrylics are completely safe.
VR, Russ



Those masks are only effective for a maximum of 10 minutes as a barrier, there purpose is to stop airborne particulates from you entering the patient, not the other way around.
Kevlar06
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Washington, United States
Joined: March 15, 2009
KitMaker: 3,058 posts
AeroScale: 702 posts
Posted: Saturday, October 12, 2019 - 09:44 AM UTC

Quoted Text


Quoted Text


Quoted Text

The other thing is maybe avoiding enamels and other volatile paints/thinners. I use water-based acrylics for most of my painting these days, which is kinder on my lungs and the family's noses, but does take some adjustment to new techniques since they are not re-soluble with extra doses of thinner - you kinda get one shot at getting them right before they dry.




I'd just make one comment here. Many modelers believe "water based" acrylics are "safe". Largely because they have no smell. But that's not entirely true. Any aerosolized paint, wether it be solvent or water based, can still be hazardous when inhaled. Many latex "water based" paints contain ammonia, which is toxic. Tamiya "water based" paints are actually Acrylic lacquers, and in large concentrations can be hazardous. A good rule is to always wear some form of respirator protection when airbrush painting. Especially when doing so in a confined space. Any particulate mater inhaled can be dangerous over time. Those fine pigment particles can easily end up in nasal passages and lungs. If you leave a cloud of paint in the air, you should be wearing a mask. When I airbrush with acrylics, I still use a form-fitting gauze fiber mask (think one of those surgeons style masks) from 3M. Those will filter out 95% of particular matter in "water based" acrylics . But they won't filter out the volatile components of lacquers and enamels. For those you need something more robust. But don't be fooled into thinking acrylics are completely safe.
VR, Russ



Those masks are only effective for a maximum of 10 minutes as a barrier, there purpose is to stop airborne particulates from you entering the patient, not the other way around.



They're not the surgeons masks-- they just look like it-- they're primarily used for painting, come in either blue or white, have rubberized elastic straps, and generally the 3M type have an exhaust valve at the front. Most good hardware stores on this side of the pond carry them in the paint department. They are a little thicker than the medical type masks, and are made out of filter material. But again, they'll only work for "water based Acrylic paints, and even then, only for a few (2-3) uses. They're designed to be disposable.
VR, Russ
barkingdigger
Staff MemberAssociate Editor
ARMORAMA
#013
_VISITCOMMUNITY
England - East Anglia, United Kingdom
Joined: June 20, 2008
KitMaker: 3,567 posts
AeroScale: 0 posts
Posted: Saturday, October 12, 2019 - 10:27 AM UTC
Hi Russ,

You are definitely right about the risks of atomised paint! And those Tamiya acrylics are indeed fumy. But they are way better on the lungs than true enamels or lacquers of old. Still best to wear a mask and use a good spray booth with ducted extraction! (I still shudder at the thought of all the old-school Floquil paint I used back in the day, with its xylene thinners - it sounds like madness these days!)

Bear in mind the OP was doing weathering, so was brushing rather than spraying - in that context the Vallejo acrylics route is far less hazardous than what he was using...
Phil5000
_VISITCOMMUNITY
New Zealand
Joined: May 13, 2013
KitMaker: 151 posts
AeroScale: 0 posts
Posted: Tuesday, October 22, 2019 - 12:39 PM UTC
Hi guys.

Thanks very much for all your comments. There are some things I wouldn't have considered.

As it turns out it looks like it was the mask that was the problem. I usually do an exhalation test to check the seal not an inhalation test, because I have to take the cartridges off to do that. So I took them off and tried an inhalation test and guess what... I could breathe in even with the valves covered. So I think that explains that.

But rather than buying a new mask I've decided to quit modelling, at least for now. I'm finding I'm really reluctant to lay down the amount of cash I need to in order to carry on, that's new glasses, a spray booth and now a new mask, when I just don't enjoy it that much anymore. I still love modelling as a whole... I love reading magazines, watching videos on youtube, checking out all the latest kits, but when it comes to actually sitting down and doing some work I struggle.

I packed everything up today, which was quite sad because I kept thinking of all the projects that I still wanted to do, but I knew when it came to actually doing them I'd have to push myself to do it. And that's just not worth the cost. Tomorrow I'm going to give away all the unstarted kits from my stash.

Anyway thanks again guys, I really appreciate it.
justsendit
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Colorado, United States
Joined: February 24, 2014
KitMaker: 2,869 posts
AeroScale: 59 posts
Posted: Tuesday, October 22, 2019 - 03:56 PM UTC
Hey Phil,
Just one more attempt at pulling you back into the fold. How about building the occasional OOB kit? — no aftermarket, no paint, no weathering — just glue-up some styrene and call it good. I sometimes enjoy that part of modeling more than the rest.

Whatever you decide, good luck.

Cheers!🍺
—mike
Kevlar06
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Washington, United States
Joined: March 15, 2009
KitMaker: 3,058 posts
AeroScale: 702 posts
Posted: Tuesday, October 22, 2019 - 04:06 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Hey Phil,
Just one more attempt at pulling you back into the fold. How about building the occasional OOB kit? — no aftermarket, no paint, no weathering — just glue-up some styrene and call it good. I sometimes enjoy that part of modeling more than the rest.

Whatever you decide, good luck.

Cheers!🍺
—mike



Phil, before you give it up, I'd say just "step away" for a while. Pack up your gear and keep a few favorite kits. You never know, you may feel differently at some point. There are many of us who have come back to the hobby, even after a break of many years. I'm one of those guys. I went from model building to painting figures for several years, because I couldn't carry all the tools and gear with me when I traveled, so I even went years between figures, but I still regret giving up some nice kits--which can't be easily replaced today.
VR, Russ
Phil5000
_VISITCOMMUNITY
New Zealand
Joined: May 13, 2013
KitMaker: 151 posts
AeroScale: 0 posts
Posted: Sunday, October 27, 2019 - 11:53 AM UTC
Guys I really don't know what to do. After a couple of days not modelling I decided I missed it. Even just dabbling a little here and there it just feels good to have a model on the go, like a book even if you only read a couple of pages a day.

Anyway I dug my mask out and checked it again and this time the inhalation test worked fine. I used my thumbs to cover the valves instead of my palms and the mask collapsed inward just as it should. So I just don't know.

And I think I've just ruined the model I was working on.

Anyway, don't mind me I'm just moaning. It helps having somewhere to voice what I'm feeling.

Hope you guys are doing well.
Kevlar06
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Washington, United States
Joined: March 15, 2009
KitMaker: 3,058 posts
AeroScale: 702 posts
Posted: Sunday, October 27, 2019 - 01:30 PM UTC
Phil,
I hear you man! Sometimes I don't feel like approaching the bench at all, so I don't. I usually always have something (or more than one thing on the bench at a time). If I finish today fine, if not, fine too. I do build against deadlines sometimes, and really prefer not to. But, modeling is more than just putting parts together and paint. Some days, I'll work on a tiny project like an engine or interior, then step away for weeks or months. I have several projects it took me years to finish. Take your time, do what you can, and don't worry about hurry. I'm an old Chemical Officer, and have lots of mask experience. My suggestion to you is test your mask before every paint session, and even during paint sessions if you've moved your head around a lot. Check the straps for a snug fit. Change out your filter at least every 15-20 paint sessions, or every six months whichever is first. Make sure you wash the mask (without filters) periodically (don't use dish soap, which containers a surfactant that will eventually break down the rubber) a mild solution of 10% white vinegar and water is good enough, then let it dry thoroughly. Make sure those valves in the mask are seated but free to move by running your finger around them (a good check every time you wear the mask). And remember it's a hobby.
VR, Russ
CMOT
Staff MemberEditor-in-Chief
ARMORAMA
#406
_VISITCOMMUNITY
England - South West, United Kingdom
Joined: May 14, 2006
KitMaker: 10,805 posts
AeroScale: 276 posts
Posted: Sunday, October 27, 2019 - 06:53 PM UTC

Quoted Text

Guys I really don't know what to do. After a couple of days not modelling I decided I missed it. Even just dabbling a little here and there it just feels good to have a model on the go, like a book even if you only read a couple of pages a day.

Anyway I dug my mask out and checked it again and this time the inhalation test worked fine. I used my thumbs to cover the valves instead of my palms and the mask collapsed inward just as it should. So I just don't know.

And I think I've just ruined the model I was working on.

Anyway, don't mind me I'm just moaning. It helps having somewhere to voice what I'm feeling.

Hope you guys are doing well.



An extractor can be purchased from China in your case I suspect via Ebay cheaply and I believe will solve most if not all of your issues. Might I also suggest some throwaway surgical gloves to prevent skin contact.