MSDS Sheets Can Be a Dangerous Proposition
am writing this hoping it will save someone their health and maybe
their life. Take the time to read and consider what I have to say.
I have been an automotive painter for 23 years and I have been in
excellent health until 11 months ago when I was diagnosed with Chronic
Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which was brought on by exposure
to toxic paint fumes and smoking. The reason I am telling you this
is in hopes that if any painters read this, PLEASE, PLEASE read
your MSDS sheets and follow exactly what it says regarding exposure
to the paint chemicals.
my life I have painted with straight enamel and acrylic enamels,
and when I would use the paints that required the hardeners and
activators, I made sure that I had an air supplied respirator. I
have always been self employed and had to watch out for myself.
In June of 99, I went to work for a small family owned auto body
shop in a different town. After working at this company for several
months, the company switched to a secondary paint system that would
allow us to use base coat clear systems, 2k urethane etc. I was
the company's lead painter so I did 97% of the painting at the shop.
company I worked for failed to provide the proper safety equipment
for my protection and the protection of others in the shop who might
be exposed to these chemicals. I painted with these paints for 9
months before I realized what was happening to me. For months I
had been feeling weak, short of breath, having chest pains and bad
headaches. I assumed I was over worked, I was driving 130 miles
a day to get to my job and home again. In July, I collapsed for
a few minutes in the paint booth and went home. I was put into the
hospital and later informed that I had emphysema and lung damage
from inhaling paint fumes.
have the official reports in my hand from OSHA, and the EPA. When
the doctors notified [these agencies] that they had someone who
had been exposed to toxic chemicals, the agencies went in and performed
a check on the business. The company was found in violation of not
having proper safety equipment, no air supplied respirators, improperly
disposing of the old paint (which the EPA deemed to be hazardous
waste), and not having proper ventilation in our paint mixing room.
I was slowly being exposed to all of this every day that I worked,
which most of the time was 9 to 10 hours a day and 4 to 5 hours
mention the fact that I smoked. Most painters that I know of do
smoke. The problem is, when you spray these chemicals unprotected,
these chemicals react to the smoking and you get hit harder and
faster than you normally would. An article published by the Canadian
Lung Association has reported that these chemicals react faster
to smokers who are exposed to them and will cause them respiratory
and heart problems. I have not worked for 11 months now and just
finished going through four months of lung rehabilitation three
times a week, and I have to go back for more lung rehab and no one
knows how long this will last.
is no cure for this disease called COPD and it's made worse when
you have chemical induced damage to your lungs. What I want to impress
to all painters is, if you must use these chemicals, and your employer
doesn't supply you with the proper safety equipment and especially
an air mask, DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT spay this stuff. It doesn't
matter how many times they tell you it's safe or that you will lose
your job if you don't paint it, it's not worth it. DO NOT believe
them when they say that a half face respirator will protect you,
IT WON'T. READ THE MSDS SHEETS, if they say the use of an air supplied
respirator is recommended, BELIEVE IT and don't paint without it.
It would have been a lot easier for me to come home and tell my
wife and kids that I got fired because I wouldn't take a chance
with my health and some bills may get behind, rather than have a
doctor look my wife in the eye and tell her and my kids and grandkids
that I have this disease and it will wind up killing me and there's
nothing they can do about it. When he tells your wife that it could
have been avoided by having the proper equipment, that's a hard
and bitter pill to take and deal with. Was the paycheck worth it?
NO. Your life isn't worth a paycheck.
Please, if you find yourself using these new high-powered automotive
paints and solvents, FOLLOW THE MSDS SHEETS, they will save your
life. Thank you for reading this and I wish all the wonderful and
talented automotive painters out there all the luck in the world.
Perry Jr. has been a painter for 23 years, a husband and father
for 22 years and a grandfather for two years. He currently resides
in Lynchburg, Virginia
2001 by CollisionWeek. All rights reserved. No part of this publication
may be reproduced or transmitted by any means without permission
in writing from the publisher.
manufacturers provide their MSDS sheets online, a few examples are
listed below :
- Click on Product Info