Epoxy resin is an effective coating material for a variety of objects and surfaces. From kitchen countertops and dining tables to cutting boards and coasters, the purposes of epoxy resin are practically endless. If you’re considering adding epoxy resin to your kitchen, you may wonder how safe the material is. One question that is becoming increasingly common among many homeowners is “Can you eat off epoxy resin?” and “Is epoxy resin food safe?”
Although not all epoxy resins are created equally, most are food safe once they have fully cured. Even FDA-approved epoxy resins must fully cure before they may come in direct contact with food. Note that in the liquid state, epoxy resin produces vapors that are highly toxic.
Once epoxy resin cures, it becomes an inert plastic that is completely safe for contact with food. Before this cured state, however, epoxy resin can be highly toxic and dangerous to handle. If you’re unsure how to properly cure epoxy resin, you have come to the right place. Read on to learn how to cure epoxy to ensure it is food safe.
Can You Eat Off Epoxy Resin?
Because epoxy resins are admired for their stunning beauty, they are commonly applied to surfaces throughout people’s homes. Items such as cutting boards, tumblers, coasters, and even knives are popular items to apply resin on. Additionally, larger surfaces such as countertops and dining tables often receive a coat of epoxy to increase durability and boost appearance. As you consider installing epoxy resin in your home, one question may come to mind: Is epoxy resin food-safe?
In short, the epoxy resin becomes food-safe once it fully cures. Before it cures, however, epoxy resin is toxic to handle. Never place food near epoxy resin before it cures for at least 24 to 72 hours. Even FDA-approved epoxy resins must cure before coming into contact with food.
It’s important to note that not all epoxy resins are FDA-approved. In fact, there are many brands of epoxy resin that are not approved by the FDA as food-grade. Although most epoxy resins become food-safe after curing for 72 hours, it’s best to only use food-grade epoxy.
Never consume epoxy resin that chips off, even if it is considered food-safe. Additionally, it is not recommended to eat directly from epoxy resin. Because epoxy resin exposes you to several harmful chemicals, it can be dangerous to your health to eat directly off of epoxy resin. When using epoxy resin on items such as cutting boards, it is extremely important to only use FDA-approved epoxy.
What is Food-Grade Epoxy Resin
While there is no precise definition of what makes a material food-safe, many epoxy products must meet the requirements of the US Food and Drug Administration. Generally, this process includes testing the product’s ingredients to determine how the chemicals react to each other and curing.
Epoxy that is considered food-safe can come into contact with food without posing any health risks to individuals. In order for epoxy to be food-safe, it must not release any smell, taste, or components into the food. Furthermore, food-grade epoxy must not contain harmful chemicals that have potential health risks.
Common ingredients used in epoxy resin include Bisphenol A (BPA), Carbolic Acid, and Epichlorohydrin, as well as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that emit after curing. Although these ingredients are often present even after testing, FDA-approved epoxies are considered much safer than non-food grade resins. In addition to containing low or, no traces of BPA, food-grade epoxy has a low amount of VOCs.
Before using epoxy resin on kitchenware, always ensure it is food-safe and FDA-approved. Because every brand of epoxy is different, it is best to check with the manufacturer before bringing epoxy resin into direct contact with food.
Are All Epoxy Resins Food-Safe?
It’s important to understand that every brand of epoxy resin is unique and contains different ingredients. While some epoxy resins may be food-safe after curing, others remain toxic even after drying. For instance, many artists use epoxy resins that are never meant to come into contact with food.
Always refer to the manufacturer to determine if an epoxy resin is food-safe. Additionally, identify the ingredients used in the epoxy resin mixture. If the product contains harmful substances, do not use it for kitchenware.
What Ingredients Are Harmful in Epoxy Resin
There are several ingredients in epoxy resin that can pose serious health risks if ingested or used near food. Because ingredients such as Bisphenol A (BPA), Bisphenol F (BPF), Carbolic Acid, and Epichlorohydrin may leech into your food, it’s important to only use epoxy resin with low amounts of these harmful substances.
Bisphenol A (BPA)
Bisphenol A (BPA) is one of the many key ingredients in epoxy being actively studied and researched. Although BPA is considered fairly safe, it can cause certain health issues if ingested in large amounts. For this reason, FDA-approved epoxy resins contain small amounts of BPA that are considered safe for intake. Similarly, epoxy resins certified by the FDA contain very low amounts of Bisphenol F (BPF), making them food-safe.
Carbolic Acid is another harmful ingredient to watch out for in epoxy resin. Touching or swallowing this substance may lead to cell or nerve poisoning, as well as chemical burns. Because carbolic acid is a dangerous ingredient to handle, users should always wear latex gloves when applying epoxy to surfaces. Safety goggles and protective clothing are also recommended during the application process.
A final ingredient to be aware of in epoxy resin is Epichlorohydrin. This substance is considered a cancer hazard that is especially dangerous to the kidneys and nerves. When in contact with Epichlorohydrin, individuals may develop symptoms such as allergies, eczema, delirium, mucous membrane irritation, and respiratory tract paralysis. Fortunately, many epoxy resin brands are looking to lower the amount of Epichlorohydrin in their products. As always, users should wear safety gloves and glasses when working with epoxy resin in the liquid state.
Is Food Safe Epoxy Resin Still Beautiful?
A common question asked about food-grade epoxy resin is “Will food-safe epoxy resin be beautiful?” Although food-safe epoxy resin will lack certain ingredients, there is no need to worry about the coat being dull in appearance. Food-safe epoxy resin is in fact just as attractive as non-food safe resins.
Simply put, being food-safe does not affect the quality or clarity of epoxy resin in any way. Food-safe and FDA-approved epoxy are equally as beautiful as other epoxy resins on the market. In fact, many food-safe epoxy resins are even more resistant to yellowing and discoloration than other epoxy products.
How to Properly Cure Epoxy Resin
For epoxy resin to become food-safe, it must be allowed to properly cure for 24 to 72 hours. Even if you use food-grade epoxy resin, the material can cause serious health risks if consumed before curing. To ensure your epoxy resin cures properly, there are many steps to be aware of during the mixing and curing process. Let’s take a closer look at how to properly cure epoxy resin to ensure they’re food-safe.
Mixing Epoxy Resin
The epoxy resin consists of two parts: hardener and resin. Mixing the two ingredients leads to a chemical reaction, resulting in solid material. Failing to mix epoxy correctly will not only affect the smoothness during the application, but it can affect the curing process.
The general mixing ratio between resin and hardener is 1:1 or 2:1. To ensure you are mixing the epoxy correctly, always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions on the container’s label. Before mixing the epoxy resin, determine how much resin you’ll need for your project. Once you determine the project’s size, measure the correct amount of resin with a hardener in a container.
To mix the epoxy resin thoroughly, it’s best to stir the mixture for at least 3 minutes. During these 3 minutes, make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the container. Improperly mixed resins will often stick to the sides, making it difficult to cure after application. This, in turn, will cause sticky spots on surfaces, making the epoxy resin unsafe for food.
During the mixing and application process, always wear protective clothing. Latex gloves and safety glasses are essential to wear, as liquid epoxy resin can be dangerous when in contact with skin or eyes.
Applying Epoxy Resin
After mixing the epoxy resin, you will have approximately 40 minutes to apply the epoxy resin. It’s important to apply the epoxy resin in warm temperatures without high humidity to ensure proper application. For best results, keep the temperature between 70-75°F. Temperatures colder than this can affect the curing process, leading to sticky spots on the surface.
Depending on the project you’re working on, you may need to apply several coats of epoxy resin. Because bubbles are a common issue during the application, subsequent coats ensure the surface remains smooth. To apply the epoxy resin, use a foam roller or brush to carefully spread the epoxy resin. To prevent the epoxy from running off the sides, apply tape to the bottom of the project. Once the epoxy resin is dry to the touch, gently pull off the tape. This will remove any drips that formed during the application process.
After applying the first coat of epoxy resin, allow it to cure for 24 to 72 hours. Next, use high grit sandpaper to sand down the surface before applying a second coat. If the surface is difficult to sand, consider dipping the sandpaper in warm water. After sanding it, wipe the surface with a paper towel to remove any debris and residue.
Between each layer of epoxy resin, it’s important to sand the surface. This ensures the epoxy resin properly bonds with the previous layers of epoxy resin. In turn, the epoxy resin will last much longer and maintain its glossy appearance.
Curing the Epoxy Resin
The final step is allowing the epoxy resin to properly cure. This process typically takes 24 to 72 hours. During the curing stage, it’s essential that you do not move the object from its curing position. Not only will touching the epoxy damage the material, but it can present health risks to you.
To speed up the curing process, keep the temperature between 70-75°F. Do not place food near the epoxy resin until it cures for at least 24 hours. For most resins, the epoxy must cure for 72 hours before it is food-safe.
Where to Apply Food-Safe Epoxy Resin
There are numerous ideas for using food-safe epoxy resin on kitchen furniture and products. Common areas to apply epoxy resin include countertops, cutting boards, tumblers, and coasters. Below, let’s take a closer look at creative ways to use epoxy resin in your home.
Epoxy countertops are a rising trend that offers many advantages for homes. In addition to enhancing the kitchen decor, epoxy countertops provide a high-gloss finish resistant to heat and damage. Because epoxy countertops have a smooth finish, they are easy to clean up with a wet cloth, making them an excellent surface for preparing foods.
There are countless ideas for using epoxy on kitchen countertops. While many epoxy resins contain bright colors, others have a clear, glossy finish for preserving and restoring existing countertops. You may even consider layering different colors of epoxy to create a granite or marble appearance on your countertop.
Using food-safe epoxy resin on cutting boards is another creative idea becoming increasingly popular. Because cutting boards come in direct contact with foods, it’s extremely important to only use food-safe resin. As always, allow the epoxy to fully cure before using it with food.
A common concern regarding epoxy cutting boards is the durability of the product. Because the cutting board must handle constant cutting, you may wonder whether or not the epoxy resin will last long. Although epoxy resin is incredibly durable, it will lose its glossy finish over time. For this reason, epoxy cutting boards often consist of two coats of epoxy.
If the epoxy happens to break from the constant cutting, you can easily re-apply epoxy to the surface. Simply brush on more epoxy and allow it to cure for several days before using it. Once again, make sure the epoxy resin is food-safe before applying it to cutting boards or other kitchen products.
Another idea for using epoxy resin is applying it to tumblers. When using epoxy resin on tumblers, the viscosity is very important. Ideally, the epoxy should be thin enough to easily spread yet thick enough to remain on the surface. Because tumblers come in direct contact with liquids and food, it’s important to only use food-safe epoxy resin.
Well, there you have it! We hope this guide helped you understand the importance of using food-safe epoxy resin on your projects. Remember to always check with the manufacturer if you have questions regarding the epoxy resin’s safety.