Auto body workers are exposed to potential health risks from volatile organic compounds (VOCs), chromates, and isocyanates during priming and painting. Read the safety data sheet (SDS) for the chemicals you use. The SDS lists personal protective equipment you need to wear and the safe work procedures for that chemical.
Isocyanates are released from some primers and paints. Exposure to isocyanates is extremely irritating to skin, mucous membranes, the respiratory tract, and the gastrointestinal tract. Isocyanates can cause rashes, sensitization, asthma, and even death.
Hexavalent chromium can be found in the pigments of paints and primers. It can be inhaled through fumes or dust or absorbed by skin contact.
Chromium exposures can result in lung cancers, nasal ulcers or perforations, skin ulcers, dermatitis, bronchitis, and asthma.
Exposure to VOCs is usually caused by breathing in evaporating solvents from painting and cleaning operations or absorbing them through the skin. VOCs target different body systems, including the central nervous system, gastrointestinal tract, and respiratory tract. Exposures can cause dermatitis, headaches, nausea, irritation of the mucous membranes, and cancer.
Use substitute materials that have the lowest health affect ratings but still get the job done. Store materials in closed containers and flammable cabinets to prevent evaporation and fires. Mix coatings in ventilated hoods. Only paint in designated areas that are sealed, ventilated, and away from open sources of flame. Use spray guns and techniques that reduce overspray.
Get medically cleared, fitted, and trained to wear a respirator.
For air-filtering respirators, know which filters or combinations to use to protect you from dust, organic vapors, and fumes. Wear a supplied-air respirator if you apply coatings that contain isocyanates. Wear safety goggles, coveralls, and gloves to prevent chemical splashes to your skin. Wash your hands before you eat, drink or smoke.