The screen-printing industry involves a lot of chemicals,the common examples are lacquers, inks, adhesives, and cleaning solvents. All these elements can cause different levels of health problems. These chemicals can be very harmful when interacting with the human body.
There’s a possibility that you can inhale different mists and fumes also. They can find a way to enter your body and can cause skin issues. They can likewise damage your body parts if consumed or contacted with an individual’s skin.
Can screen printing chemicals be harmful?
Yes, they can be harmful without any doubt. The screen-printing processes use a lot of VOC (volatile organic compounds). These compounds include inks, chemical solvents, lacquer thinners, and a lot more. These elements are responsible for the washing and printing processes. Common screen-printing products can emit different fumes. These fumes can cause a heap of different health problems. Ranging from minor irritations of the sinus to respiratory issues. Even leads to cancer.
What are the common health hazards of screen printing?
- The processes like engraving, photo reproduction, plate making involve a few acids. These acids are sulphuric, hydrofluoric, and nitric acids. They can be harmful to the skin and cause eye damage even blisters.
- There are some solutions involve in screen printing like fixer solutions. These solutions include hydroquinone and acidic salt solutions. These solutions can irritate your eyes. They can even cause dermatitis.
- Processes like adhesive laminating include isocyanate prepolymers. They can irritate the airways and lungs. They can even lead to asthma.
- Elements like UV, lacquers, varnishes involve methacrylates and reactive acrylates. They can cause corrosion of the eyes, skin, and mucous membranes.
- Processes like ink mixing, UV lamps, UV curing involve fumes. They can irritate respiratory tracts with the potential for asthma. They can also cause severe headaches and nausea.
- Processes like cylinder preparation involve chemicals such as potassium, sodium dichromates, and ammonium. All these are very corrosive and can cause ulcers. There's a risk of cancer also.
- Solutions like a lithographic fount, cleaning solvents involve esters, ketones, and alcohol. They can cause dizziness and other impacts on the central nervous system.
- Processes like dyeline Printing, flexographic, involve ammonium hydroxide, Ketones, and perchloroethylene. All these can cause dizziness and drowsiness. They also have harmful effects on the central nervous system by inhalation.
- Screen cleaning chemicals like strong alkalis include oxidizers, potassium hydroxide, sodium hypochlorite solvents. They can cause corrosion of eyes, skin, and mucous membranes.
How to avoid the health hazards of screen printing?
- Limit exposure to chemicals
There's a law named Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH). It instructs controlling exposure to materials in the company that cause health problems, with the help of the identification of harmful elements present in your company. Then find how they can be harmful to your employees.
At that point, look at what measures are set up to prevent this harm. Decide whether you as an owner are doing what's needed to prevent it or not. You should then provide important instructions and information. Train your workers in a proper way. Provide health surveillance in appropriate cases.
- Get familiar with inks
Screen printing is a process that involves several different sorts of inks. Each of these includes its own different set of properties, benefits, and drawbacks. Realizing those properties can assist you with shielding your company from negative consequences. Even with regards to your health or to your employees' health.
The choices for ink are different and each includes its own tough challenges. While using these sorts of inks in a confined space, it becomes crucial to follow safety measures. It becomes difficult to lessen the danger or even avoid health hazards. So, you need to be more careful about your preferences for the inks.
Plastisol: It is the most well-known sort of ink for textile and commercial printing. Plastisol is known for its capability and versatility for retaining its color.
It enhances visibility in both light and dark colors. Screen printing includes the use of plastisol ink. Because it never dries out even if left on the screen. It’s simple to work with, and it retains colors on fabric in an appropriate way. This sort of ink includes liquefying PVC (polyvinyl chloride). The chemical elements of the ink might mix with other chemicals and become a negative impact. Then it can produce toxins if not taken care of properly.
Solvent-Based Inks: Glass, metal, or plastic screen printing involves this sort of ink. Solvent-based inks are dry as the solvents evaporate into the air. It evaporates by making a hazardous work environment.
These inks are reasonable to use in some applications, but these solvents are flammable. They can even introduce respiratory problems when someone inhales.
UV Inks: Ultra-violet inks involve a serious (destructive) UV light source to dry. These sorts of inks have a solid odor. But some solvents get evaporated into the air. These fast-drying inks are more poisonous than others. They also involve other solvents like lacquer thinner for the cleaning process that can also be dangerous to those working in the companies.
- Train your staff
Provide glasses, hearing protection, disposable nasal masks, and lower arm disposable nitrile gloves. It’s an interest in the long haul, as healthy employees call out less. These safety products assist them in maintaining health in both the short and long term. It also proves that you care for your team more. You should have all the sizes available for your team members and place them around in every spot. Even try to motivate your workers to use them every time.
Present rewards for safe behavior. Train your workers to wash their skin and eyes if they expose to some harmful chemicals. Instruct them to bandage even small wounds as they happen to get it. Allow your team members to take part in giving suggestions for new safety products. Do inform if they have heard about those or seen any. Because it might happen, you miss the idea that there’s a better product out there when it comes to safety.
- Fume extraction options
There is no ventilation or air movement in the screen printing workshop or area. Because of that risky solvents can often mix in the air. An easy and quick solution for this could be to open a window near the work area of screen printing. Then turn on a fan near that window and use proper respiratory assurance.
There are different approaches to tackle screen printing fumes extraction. These methods will clean the air in the screen-printing area. Also, create a safe environment. For example, you can go with the installation of a proper ventilation system. It will create a peaceful and healthy work environment. It is free of solvents, harmful fumes, and toxins present in the air.
Whenever you interact with different chemicals, you should be careful. You have to be well-informed of the potentially harmful. You should be familiar with an intense affectability for Safety and Health problems. For example, with the effects of chemicals on eyes, skin, inhaling, and ingestion. Those managers as well as the company owners should pay proper attention so that they can create a safe and healthy environment for them and their team.