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Safety -- Make sure you are safe!

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  #1  
Old 2012-07-05, 4:42pm
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Default Etching **WARNING**

Read this before you start using etching liquid or etching paste, you are using an extremely toxic substance with potentially catastrophic health issues - this stuff can kill you even at low concentrations, dont listen to anybody that says they've been using it for years with no problems, just one accidental spill on your body or in your eyes can actually kill you if not treated correctly and very quickly.

we've been talking about this on the Aussie forum and i'll have to admit i was clueless, i had no idea how dangerous etching solution is, and considering how strict you guys are about ventilation, i was really surprised that i could only find two small comments here in the safety section on the dangers.

Heres a link from Monash University courtesy of Nicole in Aus
http://www.monash.edu.au/ohs/topics/...-fatality.html

here is the link to the full thread, in particular you should read what Kerry from Affordable inspiration wrote and also Bev's scary experience
http://www.glassbeadmakers.net/forum...hp?f=14&t=6844

More information

Material Safety Data Sheet HYDROFLUORIC ACID

http://www.kendon.com.au/Catalogue/M...luoricacid.htm

Material Safety Data Sheet AMMONIUM BIFLOURIDE

http://www.hillbrothers.com/msds/pdf...bifluoride.pdf
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Last edited by PerfectDeb; 2012-07-07 at 7:04am.
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  #2  
Old 2012-07-05, 4:52pm
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Etchall Cream is Ammonium Biflouride at 20% solution.
Etchall Liquid is Ammonium Biflouride at 27% solution.

You should use gloves and avoid the eyes with these but they are much safer than what was mentioned in the Monash university article. i hope to god no one is using that kind of acid for etching and especially not at that concentration. The chemical in the Monash University article was Hydroflouric Acid at a 70% lab solution so much more pure.

I can't get into the first link.
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  #3  
Old 2012-07-05, 4:54pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *Naos* View Post
Etchall Cream is Ammonium Biflouride at 20% solution.
Etchall Liquid is Ammonium Biflouride at 27% solution.

You should use gloves and avoid the eyes with these but they are much safer than what was mentioned in the Monash university article. i hope to god no one is using that kind of acid for etching and especially not at that concentration. The chemical in the Monash University article was Hydroflouric Acid at a 70% lab solution so much more pure.

I can't get into the first link.
yep the stuff we use is a much lower concentration but still very dangerous

this is what Kerry wrote, i dont think she will mind me reposting

Quote:
There is a lot of incorrect information about these products and on reading this thread I felt it import to pass on what we know.

We did offer this prouduct for a short while until we were alerted to its dangers. Jayson researched etching products extensively and I asked him to complie the information below for you so you fully understand this product before you use it.

"Etching cremes or liquids are all EXTREMELY DANGEROUS, and are exactly the same as the link posted above about Hydrofluoric Acid.

Etch-All (and other brands) products use Ammonium Biflouride, however this turns into Hydrofluoric Acid when mixed into an etching solution (a liquid or a cream). It does this in roughly a ratio of 1/3rd of the Ammonium Bifluoride. So Dip-N-Etch which is 27% Ammonium Bifluoride has an equivalent content of 9% Hydrofluoric Acid.

In Australia, anything above 3% Bifluorides is a Schedule 7 Poison. This is the highest level Poison classification available. In many of the states you need a permit to use it (let alone sell it), and to store any quantity or sell it you need special approvals, and to import it into Australia it needs different permits again. Some states wont give you a permit unless it will be stored in business premises (ie no storing it at home).

On top of this, in Australia it needs to be packaged and labelled as a Schedule 7 poison, something the current products (Etch All, Amour Etch etc don't meet). There is also plenty of anecdotal evidence that the bottles used by some of the products aren't up to storing this type of product. Leave a bottle near some glass on a shelf and the fumes that leak out of the sealed bottle will over time etch the glass!

Shipping these products is also difficult, there are strict regulations which for the health of our transport workers should be followed. This generally introduces a $100+ surcharge per shipment for shipping dangerous goods so alot of sellers worldwide (including the manufacturers) are prepared to not declare the product as dangerous goods to avoid this charge, risking seriously damaging a worker who goes to clean up a spilt shipment without realising what it is.

If it gets on your skin you wont know its burning as there is no immediate pain. Get enough on you and it can cause calcification in your blood stream and lead to heart failure. Amputations are a not uncommon way of treating this type of acid burn!

We did mistakenly sell this product for a short period of time before research showed how dangerous these products really are. The manufacturers know this, will admit it when pressed, but like to downplay it to keep up their sales.

To be safe, if you want your beads etched we recommend you take them to your local scientific glass blower (as they are set up to work with this chemical properly) and have them etch your beads for you, if you don't want to use sandblasting."

Hope that's helpful!
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  #4  
Old 2012-07-05, 5:45pm
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from what i've just read the lower concentrations dont make it safer, it just takes a bit longer to affect you - this is not like a normal acid, diluting it just slows it down, it doesnt make it any less dangerous

Solutions of 14.5% and higher concentrations immediately produce symptoms.
Solutions of 12% may take up to an hour to produce symptoms.
Solutions of less than 7% may take several hours before onset of symptoms, resulting in delayed presentation, deeper penetration of the undissociated HF acid, and a more severe burn.

Dip n Etch is a 9% solution

gloves, face and eye protection are a must but you should also know how to immediatly treat the burns, washing the acid off is not enough because it is immediatly absorbed into the skin

Quote:
For digital burns, if calcium gluconate gel is not available, the fingers may be soaked in magnesium hydroxide–containing antacid preparations (eg, Mylanta) en route to a medical facility. Retain gel/antacid in a latex glove if practicable, and the gloved hand may be immersed in iced water.
inhaling the fumes is also just as dangerous so you should be wearing a mask when you're etching beads
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Last edited by PerfectDeb; 2012-07-05 at 6:00pm.
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  #5  
Old 2012-07-05, 7:55pm
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2 small comments?
I have been trying to tell everyone what the hell etch all really is for the last 2 years. Most of the time the warnings have just been poo-pooed "oh they sell it at Michael's it can't be that bad, it's not like it's HF"...

WELL BULLSHIT IT IS! Maybe this will get the attention of some of those people? Well I doubt it cause they know it all!
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Old 2012-07-05, 8:15pm
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Kerry at Affordable Inpirations stopped importing it as it is considered a dangerous substance and would require all sorts of special import licenses to bring it into Aus.
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Old 2012-07-05, 8:36pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by houptdavid View Post
2 small comments?
I have been trying to tell everyone what the hell etch all really is for the last 2 years. Most of the time the warnings have just been poo-pooed "oh they sell it at Michael's it can't be that bad, it's not like it's HF"...

WELL BULLSHIT IT IS! Maybe this will get the attention of some of those people? Well I doubt it cause they know it all!
seriously, i put "etching" into the search section for safety and came up with 6 threads, of those only two had any kind of warning that it was unsafe but they didnt see it as major - i didnt find any of your comments but thats probably the way i searched

i've searched a bit today out of curiosity and scared myself silly, this stuff is really really dangerous, it should not be used outside of a laboratory controlled environment, all the hazmat sheets i've read so far say that it should only be used in a fume box even at low dilution - the uninformed using it on the kitchen sink with a pair of surgical gloves on are endangering their lives on a level that should be of real concern

i'm going to ask Corri to make this thread a sticky at the top of the Safety section, it shouldnt be hard to find information and warnings on something like this
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Old 2012-07-05, 9:14pm
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Etching creme, liquid and "crystals" are Ammonium bifloride

Wink rust remover contains HF

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ammonium_bifluoride

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_fluoride


From finishing.com...
"The use of (dry) Ammonium Bifluoride as a "safe" replacement for hydrofluoric acid is a unsafe practice. The uninitiated person who judges this as "safe" can quickly get into trouble since once the Ammoniuim Bifluoride (NH4F)HF is contacted with water, it will decompose to Ammonium Fluoride, NH4F and hydrofluoric acid ,HF. The HF content of the resulting solution will be ~ 33% of the original Ammonium Bifluoride and; if at the salt's solubility limit of ~ 40%, the HF content will be ~ 13%. . . very corrosive, toxic and hazardous.

Some folks have used Ammonium Bifluoride as a substitute for HF and created (what they refer to as ) a "acid free" wheel cleaner. A dangerous and deceptive practice."
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Old 2012-07-05, 9:18pm
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Hydrofluoric acid is used in high school chemistry classes.

Glacial acids (highest concentration) are actually less dangerous than diluted acids. Diluting with water causes the hydrogen and the halogen to separate into ions (the hydrogen portion of it reacts with water to form a hydronium ion, or H3O+) which are what react with other things on contact. Since HF is relatively stable and likes to stay balanced towards less separation in water, hydrofluoric acid is actually one of the weakest acids. This is because the hydrogen and fluorine do not want to separate into their ions.

Ammonium bifluoride, when mixed with water, "can release hydrogen fluoride" (hydrofluoric acid).
http://www.solvaynorthamerica.com/Si...orideFinal.pdf
This does not mean that everything in the solution is HF. It means that there may be SOME in the solution. A 9% solution of ammonium bifluoride does not mean it's 9% hydrofluoric acid. David said above that the HF will be approximately 1/3 of the percentage solution of ammonium bifluoride. I have not verified this, but if it is true, you would be looking at 3% HF.

I'm not debating effects, as I don't know anything about them, but simply discussing how reactive hydrofluoric acid is, and what's actually in that etching solution. It's my understanding that the unseparated HF is what causes cellular issues. As with any chemicals, wearing gloves is key, and safety glasses are a very good idea. I can't remember if we used a fume hood in grade 11 chemistry - it's been a while.
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Old 2012-07-05, 9:24pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silverlilly1 View Post
Hydrofluoric acid is used in high school chemistry classes.

Glacial acids (highest concentration) are actually less dangerous that diluted acids. Diluting with water causes the hydrogen and the halogen to separate into ions (the hydrogen portion of it reacts with water to form a hydronium ion, or H3O) which are what react with other things on contact. Since HF is relatively stable and likes to stay balanced towards less separation in water, hydrofluoric acid is actually one of the weakest acids. This is because the hydrogen and fluorine do not want to separate into their ions.

Ammonium bifluoride, when mixed with water, "can release hydrogen fluoride" (hydrofluoric acid).
http://www.solvaynorthamerica.com/Si...orideFinal.pdf
This does not mean that everything in the solution is HF. It means that there may be SOME in the solution. A 9% solution of ammonium bifluoride does not mean it's 9% hydrofluoric acid. David said above that the HF will be approximately 1/3 of the percentage solution of ammonium bifluoride. I have not verified this, but if it is true, you would be looking at 3% HF.

I'm not debating effects, as I don't know anything about them, but simply how reactive hydrofluoric acid is, and what's actually in that etching solution. As with any chemicals, wearing gloves is key, and safety glasses are a good idea.
if by the 9% you're referring to DipnEtch - its 27% ammonium bifluoride so is approx 9% HFA ( i double checked the bottle i have here)

the fact that its classified as a "weak" acid is actually what makes it more dangerous - people misunderstand the term and think it means its not dangerous, which is not the case.
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  #11  
Old 2012-07-05, 9:29pm
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HF is a particularly dangerous acid because of its unique ability among acids to penetrate tissue. Dermal exposure is the most common type of exposure to HF with the digits being the most often affected body part. Related compounds that have similar toxicity profiles include ammonium bifluoride, ammonium fluoride, potassium bifluoride and sodium bifluoride.

http://www.mnpoison.org/index.asp?pageID=151
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Old 2012-07-05, 10:11pm
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Kooky eh? I think there are a few posts about HF over on talkglass too if you want to go look.

Nasty stuff.
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Old 2012-07-05, 10:52pm
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I've been using it for what? 7 years now and my fingers are still intact. Wait...one just fell off...
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Old 2012-07-05, 11:05pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevan View Post
I've been using it for what? 7 years now and my fingers are still intact. Wait...one just fell off...
LOL
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Old 2012-07-05, 11:41pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevan View Post
I've been using it for what? 7 years now and my fingers are still intact. Wait...one just fell off...
could explain a lot...
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Old 2012-07-06, 4:49am
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I know it's dangerous. Anyone remember Alex Mirinov? Years ago she explained what it could do and I never forgot the creepy feeling I got in my hands when I read it. I don't like using it, but certainly will to get a look I want. To me, it's just as dangerous as what can happen with a flame. What if you tripped near your torch and fell into the flame? I take the danger seriously and do what I can to stay safe.

I wear gloves, big plastic safety goggles over my glasses, jeans and long sleeves. (I have never been a flip flop in the studio person so no trouble having shoes on) I hadn't thought to wear a respirator but will add that to the process. I have a baking soda solution nearby. Although it looks like Milk of Magnesia might be a good thing to have open and nearby instead. Easier to have as a dedicated part of the process.

In the past, when I was ready to replace my etch all I would neutralize it with a baking soda solution to dispose of it. Anyone know the proper way?
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Old 2012-07-06, 6:26am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuzyQ View Post
I know it's dangerous. Anyone remember Alex Mirinov? Years ago she explained what it could do and I never forgot the creepy feeling I got in my hands when I read it. I don't like using it, but certainly will to get a look I want. To me, it's just as dangerous as what can happen with a flame. What if you tripped near your torch and fell into the flame? I take the danger seriously and do what I can to stay safe.

I wear gloves, big plastic safety goggles over my glasses, jeans and long sleeves. (I have never been a flip flop in the studio person so no trouble having shoes on) I hadn't thought to wear a respirator but will add that to the process. I have a baking soda solution nearby. Although it looks like Milk of Magnesia might be a good thing to have open and nearby instead. Easier to have as a dedicated part of the process.

In the past, when I was ready to replace my etch all I would neutralize it with a baking soda solution to dispose of it. Anyone know the proper way?
From the MSDS in the first post

Quote:
SMALL SPILLS:
Wear self-contained breathing apparatus and full protective clothing. Neutralise with Lime (Calcium Hydroxide) if possible. Take up with sand, dirt or vermiculite. DO NOT use sawdust. Use non-sparking tools. Place into labelled drum(s) for later disposal.
So based on that the best neutralser is lime, not baking soda.

The milk of magnesia seems to be the go for first aid

When I talked to my husband about this tonight he was stunned we were using HFA, he's involved in the civil construction business and they quite often have to deal with cleanups on industrial sites - he said they're not allowed to handle HFA until they do a three day course on how to handle it safely, he was amazed I was able to buy it
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Old 2012-07-06, 6:27am
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Susan-I'd like to know how to dispose of it too. Since getting scared silly reading about it several years ago it has been sitting on a shelf but I'd really like to get rid of it.

ETA-Deb we posted at the same time. Found this on the msds. Thanks for posting it!

"Whatever cannot be saved for recovery or recycling should be handled as hazardous waste by an approved waste agency. The waste must be neutralised with lime in order to immobilise the fluoride as Calcium Fluoride.

Processing, use or contamination of this product may change the waste management options. Dispose of container and unused contents in accordance with federal, state and local requirements."
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Old 2012-07-06, 6:40am
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Marks going to neutralise mine tomorrow and dispose of it at work, they have facilities for this kind of thing, he won't even let me touch it now - he's somewhat freaked
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Old 2012-07-06, 9:11am
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The MSDS link in the first post is not for Etchall Dip 'n Etch. Here is the actual MSDS:
http://www.edhoy.com/pdf/50663_50664_and_50665_MSDS.pdf
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Old 2012-07-06, 9:40am
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Can we detox it with milk?
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Old 2012-07-06, 9:45am
flamingobeth flamingobeth is offline
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Spent hours researching this, and have to agree, it is incredibly dangerous. I will continue to work with it, safely, now that I know how. I also ordered the calcium carbonate gel and eyewash from the link below. I can't in good conscience have this item on my property without having a way to neutralize its effect should someone come in contact with it. I printed out the MSDS and am posting it in my studio. Now I am going to look into tumbling my beads, since that method is SOOOOOO much safer.

http://www.resurfacesolutions.com/p-...ric-burns.aspx
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Last edited by flamingobeth; 2012-07-06 at 9:45am. Reason: Forgot link
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  #23  
Old 2012-07-06, 10:47am
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Etch All's info is a lot milder than what Deb shared. It says you won't be harmed if it is washed off within a minute. Not that I'm sticking my hands in the stuff. But, I'm not going to get rid of it either.
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Old 2012-07-06, 11:42am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AKDesigns View Post
The MSDS link in the first post is not for Etchall Dip 'n Etch. Here is the actual MSDS:
http://www.edhoy.com/pdf/50663_50664_and_50665_MSDS.pdf
All this says is flush with water if it comes in contact with the skin. Never says anything about it burning its way through hours after - just that it could 'irritate' the skin. No wonder no one worried about it.

I've only used it once, and it didn't even work.
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  #25  
Old 2012-07-06, 11:49am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuzyQ View Post
Etch All's info is a lot milder than what Deb shared. It says you won't be harmed if it is washed off within a minute. Not that I'm sticking my hands in the stuff. But, I'm not going to get rid of it either.
Quote:
Originally Posted by karin View Post
All this says is flush with water if it comes in contact with the skin. Never says anything about it burning its way through hours after - just that it could 'irritate' the skin. No wonder no one worried about it.

I've only used it once, and it didn't even work.
Exactly, so you can't use it to get rid of a body.
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  #26  
Old 2012-07-06, 12:21pm
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Thanks for the msds info Amy. It says you can flush a moderate amount but I'm skeptical.

"Disposal Consideration
Disposal: A moderate amount of product can be flushed down sewer with plenty of water. Flush with water or
neutralize with lime. If a large quantity is being disposed of, comply with all federal, state, and local regulations. No
special spill procedures required"
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Old 2012-07-06, 12:28pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuzyQ View Post
Etch All's info is a lot milder than what Deb shared. It says you won't be harmed if it is washed off within a minute. Not that I'm sticking my hands in the stuff. But, I'm not going to get rid of it either.
I'm keeping mine too. As with all chemicals, it should be used with proper safety equiptment. I would ask that Corri not make this thread a sticky as there is alot of contoversy and misguided information here.
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  #28  
Old 2012-07-06, 2:44pm
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It SHOULD be a sticky so people can make up their own minds and at least be aware of how dangerous it can be, rather than just being careful because it's an acid.

Particularly the info about keeping lime and Mylanta to neutralise in the case of a spill or skin content.
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  #29  
Old 2012-07-06, 3:44pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AKDesigns View Post
The MSDS link in the first post is not for Etchall Dip 'n Etch. Here is the actual MSDS:
http://www.edhoy.com/pdf/50663_50664_and_50665_MSDS.pdf
Quote:
Originally Posted by SuzyQ View Post
Etch All's info is a lot milder than what Deb shared. It says you won't be harmed if it is washed off within a minute. Not that I'm sticking my hands in the stuff. But, I'm not going to get rid of it either.
Quote:
Originally Posted by karin View Post
All this says is flush with water if it comes in contact with the skin. Never says anything about it burning its way through hours after - just that it could 'irritate' the skin. No wonder no one worried about it.

I've only used it once, and it didn't even work.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mnoelker View Post
Thanks for the msds info Amy. It says you can flush a moderate amount but I'm skeptical.

"Disposal Consideration
Disposal: A moderate amount of product can be flushed down sewer with plenty of water. Flush with water or
neutralize with lime. If a large quantity is being disposed of, comply with all federal, state, and local regulations. No
special spill procedures required"
One of the things Kerry pointed out was that the manufacturers really downplayed the dangers, it was only when she investigated that she found how dangerous it really was. The MSDS I posted is for a 10% solution of HFA, pretty much exactly what etchall is, the two sheets should be very much the same and the fact that the one for etchall is "milder" should ring alarm bells, that's just not right.

I found the manufacturers site with a little tutorial for etchall showing how to etch a beer glass, no gloves, no eye protection, no mention at all of taking any safety procedures. I wouldn't take the manufacturers advice on the safety of this product at all

Here you go, no gloves, no eye protection

http://www.etchallstore.com/dip_instr.htm

http://www.etchallstore.com/creme_instr.htm
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Last edited by PerfectDeb; 2012-07-06 at 7:38pm.
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  #30  
Old 2012-07-06, 6:32pm
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There is an article about etching safety in the next edition of The Glass Bead.

Robert
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