here's the 411...

Posted by mullman on Dec 13, 2005

Let me say that I have REALLY learned my lesson about reading the warnings and acting responsively vs like a invincible cave man as I have for years. This crap can be very dangerous.

I have dabbled in wood work for a number of years, yet this was my first large project with epoxy. Otherwise I have always acted quite recklessly in the presence of chemicals in wood and mechincal/engine work, just as my father and grandfather.

When I started the project I was not wearing gloves. You know how it is, a little gets here, then more, then it is all over your hands, ect. Think novice. This happened a few times, then when I would clean my hands at night with trusty carb cleaner (GASP I know). Habit from my engine work.

The first few weeks in 2-3 days I would have rashes on the underside of my wrists up to about the middle of my fore-arms. Extremely itchy, yet not very unsightly. No one even noticed.

This happened once or twice more then I started wearing gloves religiously. So far so good. Rashes got less, but did not disappear. Instead of poping up 2-3 days after work, they would be there the next morning.

While the boat was curing, I was working on an RC plane. Just needed a dab of two part quick epoxy (hardware store type, not marine) to join something. No gloves, tiny spot on index finger where I attached the pieces. Wake up next morning and no joke my eyes where swollen shut.

This happened one more time the next week the morning after barely touching epoxy again - I'm a slow learner I guess.

Hindsight is 20/20, but I thought it was maybe saw dust or latex, or something I ate. I had no idea, but the epoxy was the only constant and each reaction got worse and worse.

Now here is the creepy part...which may or may not be related. I spent the better part of a day sanding through the ply making the daggerboard and rudder. T-shirt, flip flops, was wearing a mask, although a worthless paper one. You know what a mess sanding these items are - covered in dust. The next day I my exposed skin was red and very sensitive. Like WTF is happening to me?! I'm 34 and a model of health, runner, ect. 3 days later all is well, hang boat and have not touched it since.

20 days later I started having a sharp pain in my lower right abdomen. Typical male, take an asprin, and kept my mouth shut. Next day worse. Third night I could not sleep, 101 deg temp throbbing pain in side. I told my wife that it must be my appendix - I mean I am not a total idiot ;^) I drove my self to the ER soaking wet and they immediately ran me through the GE LightWave thingy head to toe.

My appendix was fine, but I had a severe infection in my lower intestine. Since an infant this was the first time I have ever spent a night in the hospital, two nights they kept me running test, upper/lower GI, ect. Fun stuff.

GI doc after seeing my health history and what I told here thinks that I very possibly could have inhaled some of the dust, epoxy, both, and that settled in my intestine causing my problem. At first he thought I could have been developing Chron's disease. Yet I have NO symptoms related to it and feel fine, other than this one episode that put me in the hospital. Three days on IV's and meds made it all disappear. I have not used epoxy or sanded anything sense and my health has been perfect.

That is the story. I love the boat, but discovered that I am sensitive to curring agents, sawdust, or both. Possibly through repeated exposure in failing to protect myself. I of course assume ALL responsibilities for my actions as CLC clearly labels this stuff as needing special handling care.

Any other questions pls ask. When my 3 & 5 yr old girls came to see me at the hospital and started crying I made up my mind to stop being an idiot and handle this stuff more carefully. We all have alot to live for!


In Response to: ditto Terrys comment by LeeG on Dec 13, 2005