Epoxy is a chemical substance noted for its sealing and adhesive qualities. It is used in a variety of household applications such as coating surfaces and fixing broken ceramics.
However, many people have questions about the safety of epoxy. In this article, we consider whether epoxy is food-safe, and share some important safety procedures for using epoxy. These include:
- Reducing the contact between epoxy and food
- Avoiding using epoxy-lined products for prolonged storage
- Ensuring the epoxy is mixed properly
- Adhering to manufacturer instructions while curing
- Working on epoxy products in a well-ventilated area
Is epoxy food-safe?
For the most part, epoxy is considered a food-safe resin which is “100% food-grade”. Epoxies and other glues are widely used in the construction of kitchen cabinets and epoxy floors. However, epoxy adhesives contain Bisphenol A (BPA) in low quantities, and this is a harmful chemical. The trouble is, it can be challenging to find “BPA-free” epoxy products.
Safety procedures for using epoxy
If you cannot find BPA-free or approved epoxy resin, here are some tips to keep you safe from the toxic effects of epoxy:
Reduce the contact between epoxy and food
BPA can leach through epoxy surfaces and contaminate food. Avoid such a situation by eliminating contact between food items and epoxy surfaces.
When using epoxy adhesive, ensure the parts overlap and lock the epoxy in. This eliminates the likelihood of BPA contact with food.
Avoid using epoxy-lined products for prolonged storage
Refrain from using containers lined with epoxy adhesive for long-term food storage. The logic is simple: the longer food stays in contact with epoxy surfaces, the higher the chances of harmful BPA transferring onto the food.
You can still use epoxy-lined containers for temporary food storage. For example, while you’re dicing onions. Avoid the risk of BPA contamination by allowing only brief contact between container and food.
Ensure you mix the epoxy mixture properly
When preparing epoxy adhesive, ensure you combine the resin and hardener in accurate proportions (1:1). This ensures both raw materials feature prominently in the polymerisation reaction.
Once both substances complete the polymerisation process, their contaminants become part of the hardened epoxy resin. This reduces their chances of leaching out and contaminating food.
If you use epoxy in large quantities, it is advisable to measure and combine both materials in a mixer. Doing this prevents waste and also keeps you safe from BPA exposure.
Adhere to manufacturer instructions for curing
Most epoxy products come with instructions for the preparation and curing process. The average epoxy resin hardens in minutes, although full curing may take 24 hours.
Follow the manufacturer instructions and wait till the epoxy is fully cured before using it. Failure to do this may cause the BPA to leach into the food.
Work on epoxy products in a well-ventilated area
If you ever want to work on an epoxy-lined surface such as a countertop or floor, ensure the area is well ventilated. This is important particularly if you want to do any drilling, sawing, or grinding.
It is also advisable to use protective gear during the process to avoid inhaling the cured epoxy dust. Epoxy dust contains BPA and other harmful ingredients and can damage your nervous system.
Epoxy is widely used in places where it comes in contact with food. This makes it vital to use only food-safe epoxy products. It is also necessary to follow proper safety procedures when working with epoxy in the kitchen to prevent food contamination while achieving the best results for your projects.