Synonyms: Many different types, all have “acrylate” in the name
What are they?
Acrylates are chemicals that start as liquids or powders, to which other chemicals, heat, or light is applied, causing acrylates to harden into solid substances.
Acrylates are used: 1) as powerful glues; 2) and for configuring shapes since as a liquid or paste it can be molded and then hardened permanently into any shape.
Acrylates can be used in/for making the following:
- Artificial Fingernails
- Orthopedic Bone Cement
- Temporary Dental Crowns
- UV-cured inks and paints
- Industrial Glues
The vast majority of exposures to acrylates occur at work or from artificial fingernails. There are almost no “household” exposures to acrylates, except for certain glues containing it. Fingernails generally cause a rash on the face, neck, or scattered over the body.
How to avoid:
Acrylates generally cause allergic reactions while in liquid, powder or paste form and for a few days after hardened. Once hardened, it is uncommon (but not impossible) for acrylates to cause problems (with the exception of acrylate fingernails). Therefore, it is mainly only important to protect yourself from acrylates that are still in powder, liquid, or “paste” form.
All types of artificial fingernails (gel, solar, wraps, etc) need to be avoided, along with Shellac nail polish.
Acrylates penetrate almost all types of rubber (latex, nitrile, neoprene) and vinyl gloves within a matter of minutes, so rubber and vinyl gloves are not fully protective. Wearing thick rubber gloves, or wearing multiple rubber gloves, can provide short term (several minutes) protection.
There are some types of specialty gloves that protect better against acrylates, these generally need to be special ordered and change frequently. Discuss this with your doctor if you think they could help.