WHY UV RESIN IS SO TOXIC FOR HUMANS
The reason why the resin is toxic is due to its chemical properties.
During the 3D printing process known as curing, UV light is directed at the resin, and through this procedure, the resin then hardens.
Before the resin is finished curing, it is very toxic to touch.
This process is much smoother and quicker than other methods, but it’s also much more harmful to the users.
When people use UV resin to 3D print, they have to be sure that they’re limiting contact with the actual substance; especially exposure to their skin.
With prolonged exposure, skin complications can start to occur.
You would be fine if you accidentally came into contact with the resin occasionally, but you don’t want to be exposed to the resin on a regular basis.
The best form of safety in this scenario is prevention. So, you want to make sure that you’re interacting with this chemical as little as possible.
THE HARMFUL EFFECTS OF UV RESIN AREN’T WELL KNOWN
The main reason why people aren’t as aware of the health problems as they should be is that nobody informed the general public of potential dangers as 3D printers became more accessible.
When 3D printing first began, the equipment and operations needed to print models were very expensive. As a result, 3D printing was only done in large industrial sites, and these large companies were very aware of the health risks and planned accordingly.
As 3D printing costs decreased and the printers became more accessible to the general public, 3D printing became much more mainstream.
People started adopting it in many new domains, such as:
- Small offices
- Personal homes
However, the health concerns never translated with the widespread adoption of 3D printing, so many people were unaware of how toxic the resin can be.
This general lack of understanding is most likely the biggest contributor to harmful UV resin accidents in the hobbyist community.
The chemical and process itself are very toxic, but, that combined with the fact that most people don’t know about its toxicity, makes it much more dangerous.
WHY UV RESIN IS TOXIC FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
Many of the reasons why the resin is harmful to humans can also be applied to animals and the surrounding environment.
The resin is chemically toxic, so it follows that it would be harmful to most living creatures, including humans and animals.
You need to be aware of how harmful the resin can be for yourself because then you are aware of its effects on the environment.
DEALING WITH A TOXIC SUBSTANCE
The environmental concerns that come from UV resin are the same as dealing with any other toxic substance.
The biggest concern is how to safely and properly dispose of the substance. You not only have to worry about the resin itself, but also the materials used to clean it up and store it.
If you don’t consider the harmful effects of the resin, you can severely damage the environment.
For example, according to All3DP, the resin is very harmful to aquatic ecosystems. So, if you were to dispose of the resin in or near a body of water, you would be hurting all of the different animals, and by default, also the plant life that lives there.
As mentioned before, UV light exposition is what allows the resin to create its shape. However, if left exposed to UV light for too long, the plastic can actually start to break down.
So, if you use your 3D print models outside, you need to make sure you don’t leave them in a place where they’re exposed to heavy, direct sunlight.
Otherwise, the plastic will break down and leach into the environment; into places where it shouldn’t be.
So when dealing with the resin, you need to be aware of:
- The resin itself
- How to properly and safely dispose of the resin
- Making sure the resin doesn’t come into contact with any animals
BEING SAFE WHILE WORKING WITH AND USING UV RESIN
We’ve discussed how and why the resin can be toxic, so now it’s important to talk about the best ways to make sure you’re safe while working with the resin.
You are now aware that the resin can be harmful to both humans and the environment, so now it’s time to focus on those two aspects.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF
Before you begin working with the resin, you should read all of the safety warnings and procedures for your 3D printer. This can make you aware of additional safety information you should keep in mind.
You also want to make sure that you’re operating in a safe environment with all of the appropriate safety precautions.
Next, you should focus on your equipment.
The most important thing you should do to protect yourself is to wear proper protective clothing.
You want to wear clothing that will practically cover all of your skin, so you don’t risk coming into contact with the resin. You should also:
- Wear gloves to protect your hands
- Wear goggles to protect your eyes
- Work in a well-ventilated area to make sure you don’t breathe in the fumes produced by the toxin
HOW TO PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT
In order to protect the environment from the resin, you should recognize that the resin is a toxic substance and treat it as such.
This means that you should keep your work area as clean as possible whenever working with the substance. You should also dispose of all the waste that the resin has come into contact with, in a safe way that protects the environment and meets your local area’s guidelines.
CONSIDER USING DIFFERENT TYPES OF RESIN
One last important idea to consider is that you can use different resin types for 3D printing.
We can briefly touched on the fact that UV resin is toxic and harmful. So, the best way to handle its harmful effects is not to use it at all.
There are many safe, alternative resins that you can use, and which one you choose to use depends on many factors.
However, if you want to choose a different type of resin that still works and is environmentally friendly, according to All3DP, here are some good alternatives:
- Anycubic plant-based UV resin
- 3Dresyns for SLA
- eSun bio-based PLA crossover SLA resin
3D printing can be a wonderful hobby or even a great way to make some additional income.
There are many different resins available on the market, but if the only way to make your item is to use UV resin, make sure you are taking every precaution to ensure your safety and the safety of all around you.