epoxy-allergy. to greg loehr and the other epoxyspecialists




im shaping for 4 years now. all my boards i lamed with epoxy, but over the time my skin on my fingers began to react… after an allergic-test my doctor said i have got an allergy against 2 parts of epoxy. these are:


4,4 diaminodiphenylmethan

1,6- hexadiol-diglycidether (sorry german descriptions, but should be nearly the same in englisch)


does anybody know an epoxyresin without these parts? whats about kwick kick?? is there an solution? hast anybody the same problems?? i hope you can help me. i will not use polyester…


thanks a lot



it reacts through the gloves?  My eyes will take a hit when I’m basting/wrapping laps and stuff when I’m up close to the board, but I’m impressed your fingers get it through gloves.  You never used Acetone to clean up, correct?

You should keep that doctor informed of everything that happens with your allergy to epoxy, including any suggestions we discuss here. That way the doctor will better be able to give you good and effective advice, as time passes. At the very least, record whatever happens with a brief description of the event and the date it happens.

That said, it is important that you know that if your body has already begun to manifest an allergic reaction to epoxy over time, that reaction could also affect other organ systems (like for example the lungs and respiratory tract).

That also being said, a few suggestions:

1-Try thicker gloves, or wearing a few gloves on each hand.

2-Always use a fliter respirator to ensure your respiratory tract has no contact with the epoxy fumes.

3-Wear a full-body plastic protector.

There was a recent thread in this forum where somebody was also explaining an allergic reaction to epoxy.

I do not know anything about the chemical composition of epoxy or of any possible substitutes. I’ve never investigated that area.

Do you only use regular gloves from the drugstore? If yes they could be the problem cause the allergic parts can pass through them even if they have no hole. Try nitril gloves. You normally get them at your epoxy shop too.

at the first boards i used standart latex gloves, because in every epoxymovie they are used… bad decision.


for the last 2 years i just use thick nitrilgloves. also the thin nitrilgloves don’t protect you enough… remember this. you need 0.4mm thick gloves from nitril or butyl all the other gloves just protect your skin for arround 5-10 min.


maybe my shaping career is over now… maybe some woodn boards??


be careful with all the advices, like the cheap gloves…

you could protect yourself for sure.

fresh air in the mask, full suit, full glove, taped at the wrist.

dont worry, buy the best proctective stuff and youll be fine.


i seen a guy at the local kayak company with the same problem, he still work.


good luck and remember, its not dry yet so dont touch.

I am calling BS on you klaus. Either you are just plain lying or your bathing in the stuff and following with an acetone rinse. I get a drop on every now and then for quite some time, and nothing but soap and water, and cleans it up. So how can this end your shaping career? I use cheap nitrile gloves, and change them frequently. I suspect your reaction is more likely caused by a latex reaction, than epoxy. Just by your information here something about you isn’t right. For everyone out there; change your cheap gloves when your hands start to sweat or the gloves get too wet and sticky from epoxy, by doing so you will know when a cheap glove tears, and resin of any kind is on your skin. Always use the best practices, and change your gloves.

BS? what? why do i know that i am allergic against the two parts of epoxy? because i made an allergic test over three days… i have loosen two fingernails… man thats no bullshit. and its no latexallergy… and how long are you shaping boards?? my first three years (circa 40 boards) i get some epoxy on my skin and there was nothing. but in the last half year some bad stuff developes…


and why should i ly?? and i promise you. cheap gloves are not enough… make a search for security at work with epoxy and you will find some news you didn’t know about epoxys…

Klaus, PM Greg and when he has time I imagine he will get back to you. He was very kind in answering all my questions about my epoxy allergy. I became sensitzed to it when I was building a boat with System 3 Marine epoxy. Some people have become sensitized to the older nasty marine systems but have had some success with RR epoxy.

If you are the type of person that reacts to epoxy it will get you eventually. Every little drop you get on you all adds up and when you hit that accumulative threshold there's no going back.

Some people can bathe in the crap for years and have no problems, others it just takes a little bit and do not use acetone as others mentioned. That one really screwed me during my cleanups, it just breaks the epoxy down and makes it easier to enter your system.


That’s a little out of line and ignorant at the very least. Not everyone’s immune system is the same, thats why some people have allergies and some don’t. Klaus is actualy right about gloves giving a false sense of security. There are numerous reposts that indicate the various types of gloves and how long they last under various chemicals. Also, no every epoxy is eqaul, some actually have solvents in the mix and that can change your mileage in terms of what your gloves can handle.







and you could google for hours coming up with this stuff.


Klaus, get in touch with Greg Loehr as previously advised he is probably your best hope.




The major hazard issue with epoxy is developing an allergic response to it (contact sensitivity).  Once somebody has become sensitized to an allergen, very small quantities of the compound (e.g. epoxy)  may trigger a severe allergic response to skin contact or inhalation.  Epoxy dust from sanding could trigger a reaction once an individual has become sensitized.  Not everybody develops allergies to it.  But those who do can have severe reactions.

BTW while it is toxic, acetone can be produced as a metabolic byproduct of the human body.

Umm, if not acetone, what else can be used to clean up resin…help me out of the darkness…I always thought ONLY acetone dissolved resin; have I been misled all these years??

With epoxy you can use white vinegar or detergent with poly you can use biosolve never use acetone with epoxy!

Klaus … Our resin/hardener does not contain these exact chemicals but the do contain amines which is probably close enough to give you problems … but maybe not.  Also, do you use acetone?  Skin rash is the very first sign of a problem especially around the fingers.  Usually you can solve the problem with gloves and reduced contact since IMHO there is some form of contact going on.  Epoxy molecules are quite large and the formulas are almost all high solids so even thin gloves should be adequate unless your washing in acetone.  Acetone will even go through thicker gloves.  The best method of cleaning epoxy is scrap fiberglass. I haven’t used anything else in over 20 years.

Sorry to hear that you have such a sensitivity after four years.  Everyone reacts differently to different chemicals.  There is an epoxy primer on this site, and Greg always goes over and above to try to help people understand safety issues.  To some people, it is never enough, no matter what he does.  I personally struggle to understand those people. He has a detailed page on his resin research site that discusses safety.  I have a friend who does nothing but glass all day, every day, and has done so for over 20 years.  He also developed a sensitivity to epoxy.  There are measures you can take to protect yourself, as people here have mentioned.  If those don’t work, perhaps you mentor a friend on how to glass to keep your trade going.  Good luck.   

Foreign proteins (amino acids, similar to amines) are what most commonly stimulate the body’s immune response/allergic reaction.  I suspect he is still likely to develop an allergic reaction if the chemical structure of the compounds is similar.

The sensitization could be caused by the amines alone or the combination of the amines with his own skin proteins (creating what the body reads as foreign protein).

If the offending compounds are too large to pass through gloves, acetone will not bring them through.  However, on bare skin it is likely that acetone is enhancing skin absorption/contact/combination by dissolving the offending compounds into solution and acting a carrying agent.



Some good advice for you Klaus: Avoid skin contact with acetone whenever working with epoxy.

I have seen toxins dissolved in acetone go through gloves when they ordinarily don’t without acetone.  Perhaps it’s the speed at which the acetone assisted toxin managed to get through that’s different. Perhaps it’s the acetone actually breaking down the glove material and allowing the passage. We don’t use acetone.  30 years and we’ve never had this problem in our shop.  I’ve had epoxy on my skin almost every day for that 30 years and never a reaction of any kind.  Neither has any of our employees … almost 100 of them over the years.  Sam and I have laminated many thousands and never the slightest hint of a reaction.  Everyone is different but in every case I’ve ever seen acetone was involved.  

I will not say that acetone is not a significant contributing agent.  But from a scientific and statistical perspective, a sample size of 100 is fairly small.

First, we would need to know the overall incidence of epoxy allergies within the total population of epoxy users.  Then we would need to know how many hours per day exposure, days/week-month-year.  Number of years of exposure.  What percentage of those affected used acetone as an epoxy solvent/cleaner.  Was protective equipment in use.  etc.

Without controlled and replicated studies, it would be difficult to arrive at any definitive conclusions.

Also, it is important to remember that correlation does not necessarily imply causation.  An example:

Ice cream sales in the southern US are highest in the summer.

The incidence of malaria outbreaks in the southern US is highest in the summer.

Therefore, ice cream causes malaria.

30 years of selling the stuff … millions of pounds of chemical to thousands of customers.  I haven’t seen one incidence of reaction without acetone. Perhaps it could happen but it is a widely held belief within the industry … both surf and marine that acetone provides a vehicle for toxins to enter through the skin. I agree with scientific studies which have been done by OSHA.  1 in 2000 without acetone (sorry don’t remember the exposure data or the exact system tested.  Was an old test … probably DETA based hardeners which are much worse than todays processed Cycloaliphatics).  

With all do respect, an ER doc tells me he’s never seen anyone under 50 have a heart attack that doesn’t smoke and very many who do smoke do … I don’t need a scientific report to get the gist of what’s going on.