Do the Health Risks of Powder Coating Outweigh the Benefits?

If you are worried about relying on medicine to treat respiratory problems caused by paint, powder coating may be the better solution. Powder coating is one of the safest coating options on the market. Since the 1960s, powder coating has been used on a wide range of products. The powder coating global market surpassed $12.48 billion in 2020.

It is natural to be concerned about the safety of powder coating. When you consider one of the most heralded substances for fireproofing (asbestos), which turned out to be highly carcinogenic and has killed hundreds of thousands of people, it only stands to reason that you would be concerned about materials deemed safe by industry.

Powder Coating and Paint

One of the primary features of powder coating is that it adds color to products. This type of coating is available in a rainbow of colors to enhance the aesthetics of products while it protects. Paint does the same thing, but there are some key safety differences between the powdered coating and liquid paint.

Paint has been around for centuries. It was used to add decoration and protection. Unfortunately, paint also contains carcinogens and heavy metals like lead. Lead poisoning was at epidemic levels in modern history because of the paint that was used to cover everything from walls to children’s toys.

DMSA medicine is used to treat lead poisoning. Lead poisoning often results in the patient being unconscious, so the DMSA medicine must be delivered using a tube through the nose into the stomach. Lead was an additive in paint to help the paint adhere to surfaces. Lead has been removed from most paints, but it also makes the paint less protective.

Chromium is another additive that was found in liquid paint that is highly toxic to humans. Cancers like lung cancer and about 10,000 cases of vocal cancer a year can be attributed to breathing in chromium particles. Volatile Organic Compounds were found in most paints prior to the 1980s. Even today in older buildings and structures, special care needs to be taken when removing paint.

Powder coating does not have any VOC (volatile organic compounds). That means heavy metal concerns and other additive concerns are no concern with powder coatings.

Proper Processing

Powder coat materials are largely considered safe to work with and used on a wide range of products because of their safe reliability. There is one part of the process that can be toxic to humans. The curing agent known as triglycidyl methacrylate (TGIC) has been shown to cause respiratory irritation and skin irritation when it comes in contact with the skin.

TGIC is now being replaced by hydroxyalkyl acylating to better protect the people that work with these coatings. Once dry, TGIC is no longer toxic, and therefore not a threat to the end-user. Proper processing helps to keep processors safe.

Environmental Concerns

As we all know, there is no medicine to cure the environmental problems that we have heard about from paint and other coating products. Environmental damage caused by coatings can be catastrophic. You may have read about charges filed against corporate heads for dumping coatings and causing environmental damage. White-collar criminals charged with environmental crimes are often convicted of the crime and sometimes wind up in prison, even without a prior criminal record.

The severe long-term damage that some of the coatings can cause is tremendous, but powder coating is not on the list of environmental threats. It is safe for the environment. Some of the powder coatings are completely recyclable. Additionally, powder coating generated very little waste.

Ultimately, the benefits of powder coating outweigh the minimal health risks of this material. It is an ideal coating for products made from metal, ceramic, glass, polymers, composites, and more. It is a risk-free option for humans and the environment.

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