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Fluoro wax and respirators/masks

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
My teenage kids tune their own boards and have started using high fluoro waxes for some races. I want to make sure this stuff stays out of their lungs. Will any respirator be sufficient when they are ironing in fluoro? What about the disposable masks sold in paint departments? Should they be wearing a mask on the hill when using fluoro overlays and rubbing them in? Should we be taking the same precautions when hot scraping after the race? Thanks!
post #2 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by sierra
My teenage kids tune their own boards and have started using high fluoro waxes for some races. I want to make sure this stuff stays out of their lungs. Will any respirator be sufficient when they are ironing in fluoro? What about the disposable masks sold in paint departments? Should they be wearing a mask on the hill when using fluoro overlays and rubbing them in? Should we be taking the same precautions when hot scraping after the race? Thanks!
My understanding isthat the stuff is not as nasty as most think. If heated to a really high temp it produces an irritating but not extremely toxic gas. Irons don't get that hot. It is , or was a real concern for nordic skiers who used to heat some of their waxes with a torch to help spread them. Open flames definitely break down the Fluor.

The smoke you see ironing it on is vaporized hydrocarbon wax mixed with the fluoro. I don't care for it either, and use a paint store respirator with a hydrocarbon or solvent rated cartridge if I'm doing a lot of skis. With non fluor waxes you apply them at temps at which they do not smoke, so I only use it for some very hard waxes and some fluors
post #3 of 8
Easy and cheap way would be to create a draft that carries the fumes away from the work area and out a window. Mount a fan blowing out and have a window or door open for "make up air" to enter at the other end.

Paper masks are useless in most cases. You need a seal around the face and that just doesn't happen with paper ...... fumes, dusts and mists follow the path of least resistance, the gap in the mask. No mask works if you have facial hair.

When you wear an "off the shelf" mask, you wont know if you have a reasonable fit with out a "qualitative" fit test:

With the mask on and snug ..... cover the lower exhalation valve with your hand and blow out; the mask should puff out (inflate). Cover the cartridges with your palms and breathe in; the mask should "suck in" on your face.
post #4 of 8

What Yuki said and

Lose the beard.
post #5 of 8
As long as you've got the area ventilated, there's no reason to wear a respirator. Any garage with the door cracked or basement with a fan blowing fresh air in from the window is more than enough enough you're using excessive heat.
post #6 of 8

variables

If you wax a pair of skis once a week and just ventilate you may see no "noticible effects".

If you are waxing and scraping and doing mulltiple coats ...... bad advice.

If your are a "shop rat" and are operating without proper engineering controls such as vent hoods ..... very, very bad advice!
post #7 of 8

OSHA/lack of info

I did a quick Google on this:

http://www.skiwax.ca/tp/waxroom1php

The key here as the author points out is that it is difficult to obtain objective information on the PEL (permissible exposure limit), for the individual components of wax and fluro compounds. IN THEORY, your employer (the ski shop), is supposed to have the MSDS data posted and comply with the PEL's via monitoring of the employees via a "TWA" or time weighted average over an 8 hour work shift. In REALITY ..... OSHA is not going to be placing much emphasis on small arcane businesses such as ski shops.

When you look at the "industry" at large there are many factors that can induce "mortality or morbidity". If I was a young grad student I would love to spend the time or get a grant to study the effects of the potential for disease spread via snow guns. Look at the source of the water in the collecting pond with a resident population of geese and septic runoff .... then we suck it up and spray it in the air and the instructors have to teach and breathe the stuff for hours ... lots of sinus infections early in the year ..... too many issues ... too little time. One day I looked at the color of the ice on the guns (green/brown) .... and looked back at the pond/swamp ...... keeeeeerist ...... yuck ....
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the help and the pointer. Since it's my kid I'll be highly risk adverse and make him wear a respirator, even though the bench is in a ventilated garage. As for snow made from pond scum, Yuki, jeez - can't wait to hit the manmade snow next weekend in Tahoe!
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