Industrial Floor Coatings - Toxic And Fatal?
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Industrial Floor Coatings  -  Toxic And Fatal?

Day to day use of industrial floor coatings like polyurethane and epoxy resin are as common as bread and butter on the tables of most Americans. We find these coatings in just about every major commercial location including: airports, hangars, hospitals, schools, garages and more. Similarly, as bread and butter has led to heart disease and obesity, most of these commercial floor coatings are toxic and when exposed to them in large quantities can be hazardous and even fatal.

Most notably, traditional polyurethane, which contains toxic isocyanates, has been linked to hundreds and thousands of complications from asthma to death. This toxic substance is most predominant during application by workers where inhalation or contact with the skin creates increased risk of exposure and subsequent illness.

History has seen several disasters from toxic polyurethane, most infamous being the Bhopal Disaster, where Union Carbide was unable to contain a leak from its plant in India. The resulting disaster led to an estimated 10,000 deaths from over exposure to toxic isocyanates.

Considering the dangers of isocyanates, it would be in the best interest of any company to do extensive research before purchasing floor coatings and subjecting workers to toxins. Upon further research one will find that government authorities like the Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety & Health Administration have both taken steps towards education and future abolition of toxins from the work force. This includes a recent recommendation and guideline from OSHA about worker safety in the presence of toxic floor coating applications like polyurethane.

Although these organizations have begun to take action and are following the lead of the European Union in eventually banning toxins from the workplace, we are still several years off from a mandatory institution of earth friendly materials being used in commercial coatings.

Given these circumstances it is recommended that all commercial coating applicators and companies interested in these applications do further research into green products that don't harm the environment or harm people. Industrial coatings from greener sources are now available with even stronger properties and zero side effects during and after application. These include several different epoxy substances, which are highly resistant to water and can be seen on every day items like surfboards. The only challenge with these epoxies is that they break down much quicker than polyurethane.

Due to this limitation of epoxy several companies are now developing hybrid industrial floor coatings that possess the strength of a traditional polyurethane and the chemical resistance of an epoxy. Many industrial resources now forecast that these new hybrid solutions will eventually be the defacto standard for commercial floor coatings.


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