Stephen Byers, Ritec International, calls for greater awareness of alcohol-based water-repellents for glass
We ask for help, as a public service, in raising awareness about the ‘hidden hazards’ of alcohol based water repellents (ABWRs) for glass.
The situation is urgent because risks and dangers of the them are growing, so we are sending this request for help to glass and glazing companies, health and safety authorities, trading standards agencies, glass trade associations, reputable suppliers of ABWRs and other organisations around the world.
All ABWRs are classified as hazardous because they typically contain about 90% of an alcohol that is highly flammable because it has a flash point below room temperature. Vapours of the alcohol can be explosive, and can have intoxicating and narcotic effects such as dizziness, drowsiness and nausea.
These and other hidden hazards are causing serious risks to the workers, property, business reputation and financial stability of glass and glazing companies.
Risks and dangers are caused regardless of how an ABWR is applied, but the hazards multiply when application is by atomizing, or misting, using an air-assisted spray gun with fine nozzle or a handheld trigger spray with fine nozzle.
Atomising/misting creates both liquid and solid ultra-fine particles (UFPs) which can be hazardous to health, and may also cause product performance and durability to suffer.
Some government authorities say that until more is known about the health and safety risks, protection for workers exposed to UFPs should be at the level used for asbestos. The risks and dangers are increasing and will continue to escalate unless more is done to raise general awareness.
The facts are indisputable, the risks are avoidable and the solution is increased awareness
Caption Stephen Byers, Managing Director, Ritec International – “protection for workers exposed to UFPs should be at the level used for asbestos”.