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Thread: cutting polycarbonate lenses

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    cutting polycarbonate lenses

    this is my first post, but I would love to have input on the latest information regarding the health risk of cutting polycarbonate lenses. This question has been generated from the latest findings of polycarbonate in general,causing numerous health risk when used in baby bottles and drinking glasses. I have worked as dispensing optician and done most of the cutting in the finishing lab for an optometrist for the last 20 years.My health has deteriorated to the point where I have had to cut back on my hours and missed lots of work. In any event, I have many of the symptoms associated with the latest findings of polycarbonate,in general. I would think that being exposed to the raw material in the cutting proccess could exacerbate exposure to the toxins. Is there a law concerning exposure within the optical industry? Have the laws been tightened up since new findings are coming out? I would like the latest input in this regard. Thanks in advance for any input you proffessionals can give concerning this topic. Mike

    PS: I love this forum

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    Always said that stuff was junk!

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    Redhot Jumper Ventilation is the key....................

    Quote Originally Posted by THE MEB View Post
    ..........................I would love to have input on the latest information regarding the health risk of cutting polycarbonate lenses.

    .................................... I have worked as dispensing optician and done most of the cutting in the finishing lab for an optometrist for the last 20 years.My health has deteriorated to the point where I have had to cut back on my hours and missed lots of work. In any event, I have many of the symptoms associated with the latest findings of polycarbonate,in general.
    Mike
    Mike......... any hot plastic or solvent will emit toxic fumes. The only proper way to work with them and stay healthy is proper ventilation. A ventilation hood directly over the workplace venting the fumes outside, not into a centrally ventilated building endangering others.

    http://www.twi.co.uk/j32k/protected/.../faqkg006.html

    As you have done optical lab work for 20 years and suffer health effects you must also have a tinting unit under heat all day long, and also without proper ventilation. This is as bad or worse as hot neutralizers emit toxic fumes that have long term health effects on kidneys, liver and brain. So do also some additives in the dyes.



    There are also many other chemicals that should be handled under a ventilation hood. Or if you can not start using the tinting systems that does not emit any dangerous fumes.

    If you arrange your workplace with good ventilation at the right spots you should be safe. But you should also use water + surfactant based chemicals if possible.
    Last edited by Chris Ryser; 01-01-2008 at 11:27 AM.
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    cutting poly

    chris, thanks for the input. We have small lab, have ventilation hood over both tint unit and edger, even though the suction is not as good as it should be (we have tried to get as musch suction as possible.) The smell of the dyes, but especially the high index material still waft through our adjoining dispensing area. Since the vent hood is above the edger, it still doesn't collect enough of the fumes that are garnered from waste going down into slurry bucket.

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    When I first started cutting high index I worried about the smell but was reassured it wasnt a health hazard at all!
    There are no warnings anywhere ie on the packets etc
    so how bad is this stuff?
    Alan

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    This has been a concern of mine. I used to do most of the lab work and our small finishing lab has NO ventilation other then the regular air and heat. I only turned the tint unit on when I was tinting which was only once or twice a month but having no ventilation worried me.

    I do very little lab work now since we hired a full time lab guy but I can't think it is good for him.

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    Redhot Jumper Warning..............


    WARNING !
    ABOUT FAKE INFORMATION ON MSDS SHEET'S CIRCULATED BY NEARLY ALL LENS DYE SUPPLIERS
    Hot neutralizer fumes (ethylene glycol, glycol ethers), will damage kidneys and liver. Don't expose yourself, your employees or even your customers.
    Read up on health hazards of conventional lens dye neutralizers and removers.
    Ether and ethylene Glycol based lens dye neutralizers (tint removing solvents), which are the standard variety, are very toxic, and their fumes, when heated are highly damaging to kidneys and liver. We can find tinting units with hot lens dyes and toxic neutralizers being heated in the smallest and not ventilated areas in optical laboratories and in the back of optical stores all over the world.
    Most or many of the larger optical lens dye supply manufacturers publish MSDS forms even over the internet, that do not mention the health dangers of heated ether glycol solutions.
    Some optical stores are situated in office buildings or shopping centers which are using re-circulating heating and air-conditioning systems. In these cases the toxic fumes are not only inhaled by the workers in the optical laboratory or store, they are also carried in the air system around the whole building.
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    Quote Originally Posted by apaul View Post
    When I first started cutting high index I worried about the smell but was reassured it wasnt a health hazard at all!
    There are no warnings anywhere ie on the packets etc
    so how bad is this stuff?
    Alan
    So any ideas?
    Should we be wearing gas masks?

    Al

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    Blue Jumper check MSDS.........................

    Quote Originally Posted by apaul View Post
    So any ideas?
    Should we be wearing gas masks?

    Al

    You have the right to request a MSDS (Material safety data sheet) fom your supplier on the cured lens material. Then check the section on toxicity of fumes when overheated or burning.

    However if you use a coolant when edging, the problem would simply be an unpleasant smell and not fumes.
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    Thanks for that Chris
    Hope i am not going to ridicule myself but arent smell and fumes the same thing?
    Alan

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    Blue Jumper Hot plastic materials..................

    Quote Originally Posted by apaul View Post
    Hope i am not going to ridicule myself but arent smell and fumes the same thing?
    Alan
    Nothing ridiculous about that. Smells can be or are most of the time harmless if they are emitted from a unheated object, however they can be warning signal.

    If you inhale an expensive perfume which consists of a half a drop of concentrate dissolved in ethanol in its normal cold condition you will inhale a non dangerous and minimal amount of the alcohol.
    However if you heat the same perfume and start smelling the bottle you will inhale a thousand fold the alcohol which transposed into a gaseous state by heating it up and would be immediately be subject to its toxicity of the chemical.
    This same effect you have in your lab with lens dye neutralizer. No problem when smelling it cold but very toxic when hot.

    That is why I asked above if you use a dry cutter on your edger or wheel with coolant. The dry cutter would create heat and could release toxic fumes that can develop with plastic materials taht are otherwise safe.
    Chris Ryser
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    That's another reason why I don't like dry cut edgers. Just take a look at the dust when you clean around them. Makes smoking look safe.
    Last edited by gemstone; 01-04-2008 at 11:32 AM.

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    dangers of cutting and grinding

    1. If you cut or grind you will have dust and vapor. You need proper dust collection and proper ventilation for the vapor. If you smell something, then you surely have vapor.
    2. The same dust you see on your counter is also collecting in your lungs, which is why wearing a mask is smart. The dust collection in your lungs is cumulative. It does not pass. It takes a number of years to discover the heath threat. Then it is a little late. The learning process is much similar to that which folks learned about with mining coal and asbestos. The optical industry tends to pretend this is not an issue. One day this will be just as big an issue as in those other industries. This will hit the guys without proper dust collection and ventilation where is should, in the wallet. Because you do not see or feel it quickly is a lousy reason to be lazy and cheap.
    Last edited by maguire3670; 01-05-2008 at 03:25 PM. Reason: spelling

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    Redhot Jumper Seriously...............

    Quote Originally Posted by maguire3670 View Post
    The optical industry tends to pretend this is not an issue. One day this will be just as big an issue as in those other industries. This will hit the guys without proper dust collection and ventilation where is should, in the wallet. Because you do not see or fell it quickly is a lousy reason to be lazy and cheap.
    Thank you for speaking up..........................This problem is also treated on the Optiboard as if it was non existent.

    I think that is because most opticians have their lab in the back of the store with no means to ventilate...........and one has never done so in the last 100 years..
    Store located in closed, central ventilated buildings or malls are polluting the air for others that even complain about 2nd hand smoke, but don't know they breath much worse in such locations.
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    Polycarbonate Lenses

    Thanks everyone for your input. I still didn't see any responses as to any new laws in the optical industry because of the latest findings about the health risks in using polycarbonate materials. Many stores have already taken baby bottles and drinking cups made of poly of their shelves. Just a few years ago the optical industry was considering making all lenses polycarbonate because of safety issues. Seems ironic now that they aren't the leaders in determining if the health of those who have been producing eyeglass lenses made of polycarbonate aren't in even more jeoprady than those who dring out of water bottles.

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    Regarding smells of high index...

    Pulled this past post of mine that new optiboarders may find interesting-


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    Memorandum from Seiko 6/2/1997 RE: New SLU Resin Odor
    Took a CE class a few years back and asked the instructor about the odor of the very high index lenses and if it was toxic. Her reply was "that's the smell of money". So I again asked if it was toxic and she said only in extremely high concentrations that no lab environment could produce which made me curious as to how high extremely high was.
    Found a lab who faxed me the following Seiko Memorandum addressed to Distribution.

    "AS you may have had inquires from your customers regarding the odor of our new.......
    In reviewing the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDA), hydrogen sulfide is the only classified chemical class with an established threshhold limit value (TLV). This occupational exposure limit is set by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygenists. The actual TVL at time weighted average (TWA) is 10 parts per million (PPM) or 14mg/m[to the (3rd?)]. This TWA translates to a safe concentration level for a normal 8 hour workday and a 40 hour work week, to which nearly all workers are constantly and repeatedly exposed without any adverse health effect.

    Seiko states that when our lenses are processed under the worst conditions (dry edger with no ventilation or air circulation), that only extremely small amounts of hydrogen sulfide are released. The actual measured results at 5-10 cm around the edging point are 0.01 PPM or less. This is to say the exposure is 1,000 times less than the TLV-TWA. Therefore, it would be safe to say that if a person in a three foot cubic room was to edge 100 lenses at the same time and exposed to that atmosphere all day for a 40 hour work week conditions would still be 10 times less than the established TLV amounts."

    They proceed to recognize the lenses smell like rotten eggs when edged and suggest to wet edge, ventilate, use deoderizers and "problematic or sensitive employees could be advised to wear dust masks."

    There is no mention of how thick the test lenses are.

    Fester

    P.S. According to "New Scientist" magazine on 7/28/2001 and "Biochemical Pharmacology" Vol. 62, 2001 flatulence (word for the day?) is primarily-- you guessed it(!) hydrogen sulphide

    (Can a chemist among us confirm hydrogen sulfide and sulphide are the same? I'm hoping not!)
    Judy- Were you that instructor? The "smell of money" always stuck with me!

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    ATO Member OptiBoard Bronze Supporter HarryChiling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Fester View Post
    The "smell of money" always stuck with me!
    I have been using that one for almost 10 years now, My first boss used it before me. Nothing like a good Hi-index lens edging in the morning, beats a cup of coffee anyday. :D

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    OptiBoard Professional OptiBoard Silver Supporter RT's Avatar
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    If you are an OLA member, you can log in to the OLA website and have access to a large database of MSDS for a variety of products, including polycarbonate lenses.

    The MSDS for polycarbonate indicates that there are no known acute or chronic health effects due to poly. It does indicate that grinding creates nuisance dust, and that ventilation is recommended. It is likely that any ill effects would be limited to irritation from the dust.

    OSHA has definitions of and limits for nuisance dust. You can consult the OSHA website, or if you feel that your employer is not providing you with a safe work environment, you may file an OSHA complaint.

    You may also want to do a little more critical research on the dangers of polycarbonate (or more specifically, bisphenol-A which is a component of polycarbonate). While studies have shown that bisphenol-A can leach into liquids stored in a bottle made of polycarbonate, there is debate as to whether or not the amounts involved are significant from a health standpoint. It seems like a big stretch to relate your health issues to exposure to solid polycarbonate. You may be a victim of media "scare-mongering".
    RT

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    Question

    If you are aware of a optical lab that doesn't have proper ventilation what can be done about it legally? Who would you complain to?

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    I was of the understanding that all labs(surfacing and edging) had to have all msds sheets visably posted. You may want to do a search for anzi, or msds standards for your chemicals. I have never thought about it before, but certainly an interesting question.

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    Redhot Jumper

    Hazardous Decomposition or By-Products
    Substance Condition

    Carbon monoxide At Elevated Temperatures

    Carbon dioxide At Elevated Temperatures

    Toxic Vapor, Gas, Particulate At Elevated Temperatures

    Hazardous Decomposition:
    Under recommended usage conditions, hazardous decomposition products are not expected. Hazardous

    decomposition products may occur as a result of oxidation, heating, or reaction with another material.


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    OptiBoard Professional OptiBoard Silver Supporter RT's Avatar
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    I was of the understanding that all labs(surfacing and edging) had to have all msds sheets visably posted. You may want to do a search for anzi, or msds standards for your chemicals. I have never thought about it before, but certainly an interesting question.
    It's not limited to optical labs. OSHA requires all businesses to have the MSDS for all workplace chemicals in an accessible place. All employers should have a chemical information plan.

    If you're Googling, look for "OSHA" (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), not "ANSI" (American National Standards Institute). ANSI has nothing to do with workplace safety. If you feel that your workplace is not safe, OSHA is the proper body (in the US) with whom to lodge a complaint. OSHA can mandate inspections and corrective action if the workplace is found to be unsafe.

    As several people have noted, ventilation is key to remove dust from edging and fumes from tinting. Ventilation also removes bad smells from the high index lenses that you wouldn't want in your dispensing area.

    Or you could buy a sign. No smells, no dust, no ventilation required.
    RT

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    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Gold Supporter Judy Canty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Fester View Post
    Pulled this past post of mine that new optiboarders may find interesting-Judy- Were you that instructor? The "smell of money" always stuck with me!
    Nope, not me! Though it's a nice turn of a phrase.:)

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    Quote Originally Posted by chip anderson View Post
    Always said that stuff was junk!
    I agree, although I would have used somewhat more colourful language to describe it. ;) I refuse to use it unless absolutely forced to.
    Proud Member of the ABE Club!
    Don't feed the Beast...

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    Blue Jumper MSDS Data Bases...........................

    Alexa provides a full page of free data bases you consult for just about any chemical on the market.


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