Post 359 – by Gautam Shah
Coatings (Paint, Varnish, etc.) consist of organic as well as inorganic substances. Both the categories of materials can be hazardous at several levels such as: production, application, curing or drying, functional use, and disposal level.
At production level the handling and use of certain raw materials can be hazardous. Typically handling of extenders and pigments can pose air-bourne particle spread. Some of these silica containing materials are toxic and carcinogenic and not eco-friendly. Resins (amino) with styrene and formaldehyde are carcinogenic. Solvents are known fire prone materials. At application level, the primary hazard occurs, due to high amounts of volatile organic content going into air. Its vapours or odours are noxious, allergic and unpleasant. The odour suppressants added to coatings are not necessarily benign. At application level, old coated surfaces are rubbed or scrapped, the particulate matter of which causes air pollution and the constituents are often unfamiliar.
Post application, the wearing surfaces and peel-off cause, dust pollution. Some of the plastic materials continue to deteriorate, evolving pollutants. Coatings used on kitchen shelves, utensils, equipments cause contamination. Accidental high heating and fire scorch a coating. Planned removal of coating by sanding and chemical etchings (paint scrubbers or removers) can also leave unwanted residual products. Disposal of coated items by sawing, forced removal, hammering, chiselling, sanding, scrapping, etc. can desecrate the environment.
Prolonged or high intensity exposure to paint and paint fumes can affect three main organs, lungs, kidney and lever. These manifest as headache, allergies and asthmatic reactions, irritation of skin and eyes, burning in nose, airways, urinary tracts.
The trend world over is to design entities with their own or integrated surfaces. A variety of metal and polymer surface treatments are available that molecularly change the quality of the surface. Such `surface systems‘, rather than `surface finishes‘ often do not require any application of foreign substances. A variety of single or a combination of treatments like temperature, radiation, sonar, mechanical finishing, stress induction and relief, cathodic protection etc. can eliminate organic coating systems. Such surfaces do not have any applied finishes, but rather have a generated finish.
There are many inorganic coating systems that are akin to metalizing systems. In such systems the role of medium is to carry and spread the pigment and other substances. On baking or firing the medium is evaporated or burnt off leaving metallic or alloying compounds on the surface. Such substances are generally heat or flame cured to cross links with the substrate material.