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Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Painter’s World: Painters and Gardens

The rain drip, dripped, then beat upon my hearty vegetable plants. I hoped that they would make it.

Last year, the torrential rains knocked my tomato, pepper and pole bean plants to the ground. Broken, limp and lifeless.

Miraculously, the repeated rainfalls recently – all of them needed desperately – saturated the earth. And, they bounced off the leaves of every plant. Even the young, more vulnerable ones.

WHY DOES ONE CROP SURVIVE AND THRIVE? Why does the last crop curl up and die?

An “THIS-GARDEN” ANSWER

This season I pre-treated the soil with a fertilizer spray solution: 1-cup ammonia to 1-gallon water. (TIP: Do not increase the ratio.)

I found the old solution printed in Amish Gardening Secrets by Mardy D. Nicholas. (Copyright 2005, James Direct, Inc., Hartsville, Ohio 64632.)

I did not expect the results that I’ve gotten so far. Many buds on every plant.

Yield estimate: If one half of the buds produce fresh vegetables, the yields will be amazing. More than enough to share with non-gardening neighbors. Plus a few local painters and former co-workers. And, still have enough fresh veggies to freeze or can.

ABOUT GARDEN SIZE

Garden size does not determine plant yield. Nutrients in the soil, quality of vegetable seeds, timely cooperation of the weather (rain, sun, shade, heat, humidity), and, planting and tending DO have everything to do with it.

Since 2013, I’ve cut down the garden size by 50 percent. Fewer tomato, pepper, bean, and pea plants, less lettuce, and only one or two herbs.

In my family, painters and decorators have also gardened. In Indiana: a huge “truck patch.” Hundreds of plants. In South Florida: six-to-eight plants in huge earthen patio pots. In Central Florida: ten-to-twenty-five plants mainly in the ground, also in earthen and plastic pots.

Teammate Tip: If a teammate shows up with a basketful of home-grown vegetables and/or fruit, take some. That’s why he or she brought them. If you’re not interested, please take a few for a neighbor or friend.

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It’s not how you start, but how you finish.
It’s not where you begin, but where you end.
It’s not what you plant, but what you end up with.
It’s not how much you plant, but the quality of your yield.

..Paraphrased quote by Tommy Tu, director, “Grand Hotel”
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Thanks to painters that also grow gardens.

Thanks from “Painting with Bob.”
Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Heat Illness: Preparing-for-Prevention Tips for Painters: Part II

As painters and decorators, we are our own best advocates in preventing heat illness on the job. We must play an active role in the protection of our own health. We cannot leave the responsibility to our employers.

 

In fact, both OSHA and EPA limit the employer’s level of responsibility. Employers tend to make these work-related choices, and provide preventive measures at their discretion.

 

Now – the cooler months – is the time to come up with a plan to prevent and treat on-the-job heat illness symptoms.

 

Now is the time to determine how we will handle our workload during the sustaining hot and humid months/season. Especially in climates like Florida has from May through October.

 

NOW is the time to get the facts out about heat illness.

 

  1. Talk about it: types, symptoms, risks and warning signs, safety issues.
  2. Publicize it.
  3. Orient everyone on the team and staff about what to look for.
  4. Train team members and staff what to do, when, and how.
  5. Commit to on-going heat illness awareness and advocacy at the workplace.

 

Heat Illness Prevention Tips for Painters

 
1. Know your body.

A. What is your tolerance level to heat, humidity, and sun exposure (direct/indirect)?

B. What is your exertion limits within that tolerance level?

2. Know your work environment.

A. What is the highest temperatures in which you must work during the hottest, most humid season? How many hours a day? How many days a week?

B. What is the actual temperature felt by your body – with the heat index added?

C. What us the longest period of time during a work day, that you must work continuously in that actual temperature?

D. How many days during a week must you work continuously in those actual conditions?

E. What is the level of clean-air and ventilation within your work area(s) on a continual basis?

3. Know your job’s physical demands.

A. How many hours in a day must you work in hot, humid conditions? Number of days a week?

B. At how fast of a pace must you do your work? Very slow? Slow? Moderate? Fast? Very fast?

C. For how long a period must you keep up that pace? _____ minutes. _____ hours?

D. How many breaks do you get, ordinarily, each of these days?

1) At what times during the work day are the breaks scheduled?

2) How many additional breaks are you allowed during work days in hot, humid conditions?

3) How often can you take a break when heat and humidity conditions meet or exceed your tolerance level. (See 1 and 2 above.)

4. Know your physical limits in meeting the physical demands.

A. How many pounds can you lift, carry or move, ordinarily and at once?

1) Under hot, humid conditions, what is the maximum number of pounds? Without symptoms.

2) With B, do you need to use a cart or other conveyance piece of equipment?

B. How long can you climb and stand on a ladder?

1) Under hot, humid conditions, what is the maximum length of time? Without any symptoms

C. How long and often can you bend, stoop or crouch within one hour?

1) Under hot, humid conditions, what is the longest that you can do these? Without symptoms.

D. How long can you stand and how far can you walk without resting? Holding/carrying anything that weighs your maximum poundage? (See 4-A above.)

1) Under hot, humid conditions, what is the longest period and furthest distance that you can do these? Without any symptoms.

5. Know what your first heat illness symptoms may be.

A. What have been your first heat illness symptoms in the past?

B. What, if any, medical conditions that you have could cause or trigger heat illness symptoms?

C. What, if any, medications that you take could cause or trigger heat illness symptoms? Include over-the-counter products – eg. antihistamines, aspirins, nasal sprays.

 

Do you have a low tolerance level to any heat-humidity-ventilation environmental conditions?

  1. Avoid them. Work in cooler, shaded areas when above conditions do exist in other areas.
  2. Do not allow yourself to be placed in any situation that might cause, trigger and/or exacerbate your heat illness susceptibility.

 

SPECIAL LIFE-SAVING HEAT ILLNESS PREVENTION TIPS

 

  1. Schedule exterior painting during the coolest times of your work day. Examples: A. Dawn-to-10 AM. B. 5 PM-to-dusk or dark, or later.
  2. Plan to work on surfaces/areas opposite full-sun exposure. Examples: A. West and north sides of buildings when sun is over east and south sides.
  3. East and south sides of buildings when sun is on west and north sides.
  4. Plan to work in hot, humid areas when an emergency comes up. NOTE: Ordinarily, there are times when exterior painting must be done immediately.
  5. Wear short, white painter’s pants when you must work in outdoor temperatures 90 plus degrees. Regardless of the time period involved. NOTE: Get approval before the hot season arrives to adjust clothing to fit extreme heat/humidity conditions.
  6. Wear a cap or hat with a bill, when working and/or walking in the sun. TIP: Wider is wiser.
  7. Keep a drinking water supply with you at all times.
  8. Carry packs of small snacks in your pocket. Examples: Walnuts/almonds, Peanut M&Ms, raisins, trail mix, granola bars, energy bars.
  9. Carry frozen ice pack in small cooler on your golfcart or pushcart. While you’re at it, stick in a couple small cans of healthy juice. Examples: V-8, orange, apple. TIP: Pack a banana, too. High in potassium. Essential for sodium/hydration leveling.

 

BOTTOM LINE: The painter on duty must get his/her work done. One way or another. So watch out for yourself when the heat and humidity start to climb. And, set the standard for others to do the same.

 

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Learn and Live “Heat Illness” Free. Go to: www.osha.gov/heatillness.

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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2015, 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painting Methods: Adapting FOR the Environment

It is easy to paint, when the environmental conditions are optimal. The sun is out, and the air is dry and moderately cool.

 

On many occasions, painting must be done in less than suitable conditions. It may be overcast, humid, or confined.

 

Some of it is a matter of choice. Also, the pressure to get the job done promptly.

 

The ability to adapt to environmental changes and conditions allows a painter much greater flexibility, that he or she might not see in set conditions.

 

TIPS FOR ADAPTING FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

  1. When work is to be done outdoors, and whenever possible, select days that allow for the paint to dry properly, and you to work efficiently. Example: I’ve worked under humid conditions before only to see the paint run off the walls. The employer ignored recommendations to wait till conditions had improved.
  2. It is possible to enhance your working environment. Wear a hat when working in the sun. When working indoors, use a portable fan or air conditioner to improve air circulation. Some conditions, coupled with certain products, require the use of an organic vapor respirator, or a self-sustaining breathing apparatus. TIP: The driest possible air is essential for painting. At times, it is not possible.
  3. Minimize or adapt to toxic exposure by wearing protective head-to-toe clothing, gloves and safety goggles. Also, use a organic vapor respirator/fresh air supply system. Limit skin and breathing/respiratory exposure. Especially, chemicals, industrial solvents, and mold and mildew.
  4. Provide adequate ventilation, when working with chemicals. Even latex paints can cause breathing problems, and oxygen levels in the blood to decrease.

 

Working conditions can be altered in such a way as to not affect the quality or productivity of your work.

Take some time, forethought, and planning to improve where you work. And, to maximize the safety and health conditions in that work environment. On a daily basis.

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Everyone in a painter’s work space plays a role in the health and safety of that environment.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painter’s World: What You May Not Know About Black Mold

Never believe something cannot harm you just because you can’t see it. Just as a virus or bacteria can cause an infection, Black Mold fungi, offers its own type of threat to your health.

 

Basically, anything which is microscopic and exhibits the definition of being alive supports its own defense mechanism. And that’s against us.

 

Black Mold, or other similar fungi, produces spores which are unseen to the naked eye. During the stages of their metabolism, they produce by-products which are often toxic. These toxins interfere with the normal metabolism and respiration of humans.

 

WHAT YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT BLACK MOLD

 

I didn’t know much about Fungi, Black Mold, Myotoxins, etc. until I started looking into it further. The following is a list of three of the most dangerous effects from mold exposure:

 

1. Mold inhalation – Decreased hemoglobin red blood cell concentration, lowered blood gas concentration, anemia, and bronchial and/or sinus inflammation and infection.

 Symptoms: Dizziness, muscle spasms-tremors, headaches, stressed breathing, clamped oxygen supply, runny nose, burning eyes, confusion, and blurred vision.

 

2. Mold Skin Contact AbsorptionAnemia, change in basal respiration rate, lowered blood gas concentration, subcutaneous pustules, lesions, and widespread rash.

Symptoms: Skin irritation, itching, burning, dizziness.

 

3. Long-Term Effects (most important) -Prolonged exposure that often causes an irreversible anemic health condition. Stem cell differentiation development within the bone marrow that’s affected by cases severe mold exposure. Change in the Hemostasis of hemoglobin/red cell relationship is altered.

***Secondary effects – Permanent respiratory illnesses such as chronic and/or acute Sinusitis, Bronchitis, Asthma, and Sinus tract cysts; irritation and/or inflammation of the mucus membranes. Also partial obstruction of the airway. Because of past exposure, susceptibility to allergic reactions from common dust and pollen.

 

HEALTH PREVENTION OF MOLD EXPOSURE

 

1. When cleaning: Wear protective suit, gloves and head covering; also proper respiratory equipment such as a charcoal, organic vapor respirator, or a self-contained, fresh air supply system. Note: Dust mask is totally inadequate.

2. If infestation is invasive: Use garden sprayer with 50/50 bleach-water, or peroxide solution. Spray infected area. Promptly remove yourself from the area until the solution has degraded the mold. Then you may clean and remove by hand what is left. When the removal of mold is completed, rinse entire area with fresh water – either by hand or with a garden sprayer.

3. Ventilate! Ventilate! Ventilate! In the area where you’re working, always provide adequate ventilation when spraying bleach or similar toxic chemicals. Open windows. And use circulating fans. The cleaning process will be much safer, and go much smoother.

 

IF AND WHEN YOU’RE EXPOSED TO MOLD…

 

1. Seek a clean, fresh air environment as soon as possible. Go outside if necessary.

2. Get help now! Someone needs to assist you and call “Emergency 911” and “Poison Control” – your chief engineer,  security director, member of management, teammate.

3. If you suffer a rash or burn of any kind, use a baking soda/water solution, calamine lotion, or a hygienic glycerol soap to help reduce skin irritation.

4. In severe cases, it may be necessary to get a steroid injection. This depends on whether or not your entire body is affected.

 

IN THE CASE OF MOLD EXPOSURE…

…what you don’t know will hurt you.

 

1. I developed both chronic and acute sinusitis from daily exposure to massive amounts of toxic levels of mold plus the toxic cleaning agents, over a period of six years.

2. On a daily basis, I took the proper precautions. I used the products and safety tools and equipment provided and authorized by the chief engineer, and property management and owners.

3. But the amount of mold was too great, for too long of a time.  According to health and environmental specialists, “a person could not have come out of it without suffering ill effects.”

4. The physicians have said I was fortunate. A strong majority of persons develop Asthma. In addition, a large number are also diagnosed, eventually, with Sinus and Bronchial Cancer, and/or Lung Cancer.

 

WHEN TREATING MOLD…

Whether at home or on the job, take your time. And work safely.

Take care of yourself and the others around you.

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Everyone wants to go home at the end of the day!

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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Call 911 First, Security Second. Override Policy.

Certain circumstances call for a staff member – eg. Painter – to phone 911 FAST! Then Security.

 
Some emergency situations on the job demand immediate action, whether the person is a teammate or manager, guest/visitor, vendor, or property’s owner. Your response must be quick, precise and necessary.

 

Call 911 or Chief of Security First. It’s Your Call – 11 Examples

 

  1. Trips, falls – especially involving blows to the head.
  2. Severe asthma attacks – clamped breathing.
  3. Adverse reactions to toxic exposure – lost vision, can’t breathe, immediate rash, swelling.
  4. Hazardous materials contact – eyes, skin, lungs.
  5. Stroke symptoms – face numb, speech slur, arm drop, lost balance, blurry vision, dizzy.
  6. Heart attack symptoms – chest/back/shoulder pain, dizziness, numbness, sweating, shortness of breath, nausea.
  7. Choking – Note: While waiting, Heimlich method may be wise action.
  8. Turning blue – any part of body. Also look for stopped breathing, numbness signs.
  9. Allergic reactions – Sudden swelling, rash, hives, clamped breathing.
  10. Paralysis, numbness, tingling – No time to hesitate!
  11. Heat illness symptoms – weakness, sweating, dizziness, dehydration, thirst, tremors.

 

Anyone who is experiencing any of the above symptoms, or any combination of them, requires immediate emergency help.

 

At least four times on the same job, I was in crisis. I suffered at least two of the above sets of symptoms. Other people were around in each instance. No one called 911. Care to guess what happened eventually?

 

3 REAL-LIFE COMPANY PAINTER CRISIS SITUATIONS

 

ONE. Joel was on the job less than a week. He’d moved to Florida to help care for his elderly parents. He noticed something wasn’t right the minute he removed the lid from a new gallon of paint. Sudden headache, problem breathing, burning eyes, itching skin.

 

“Latex is non-toxic,” he told himself.

 

When he got dizzy, he stumbled out of the hotel guest room. He yelled for help, and pushed the call button on the mobile. No one came.

 

TWO. Maria was considered one of the most fastidious housekeepers at the hotel. The director of her department had put her in charge of mold and mildew cleanups. She’d suffered mild mold fungi symptoms from Day 1 on the job, over 17 years ago.

 

Shortly after her fortieth birthday, she noticed the problems weren’t getting better. After every exposure to the mold, then the chlorine bleach cleaning agent, her eyes burned and wouldn’t focus. She experienced serious problems driving, reading, knitting, etc. Her chest muscles ached. She felt tired a lot. She developed skin rashes, even hives.

 

Less than one hour after clocking in one morning, she was washing walls down with bleach. She couldn’t get her breath. She got very dizzy, and started to pass out. She pushed her mobile phone button. No immediate response.

 

THREE. Curt dropped a box of full paint spray cans on his head. No big deal, he thought. He loaded up his golf cart, and sped toward the pool side gazebo, to get set up for the day. He felt a little weak, but got busy.

 

By 11:00 AM, he felt nauseous, light-headed, headach-y, and a strange pain around the neck. It was ninety degrees outdoors. He passed out. When he came to, three children stood over him. No one called for help. He got himself into an empty, air-conditioned guest room and spread out on a bed.

 

A “911” situation may not be that obvious at first. You may need to rely on your gut feeling, holler for help, then take a closer look for the other symptoms.

 

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The life you save may be very precious to someone else. Act! Don’t hesitate to help!

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Thank you for reading “Painting with Bob.”

 

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painter’s View: Covering Up Toxic Mold Infestation

In Florida, more than a few hotels have redecorated all or most of their guest rooms and public areas to cover up a deeper problem. Example: Black mold infestation – Stachybotyry’s chartarum.

 

They’ve spent a lot of money to install new carpeting and tile, furniture and fixtures, window treatments and textiles, AC window units, fresh coats of paint, etc.

 

But none of it will eradicate “sick building syndrome,” the underlying challenge.

 

Black mold and mildew behind the walls, above the ceilings, inside pipes and duct work, under floors, behind cabinetry, etc.

 

To get rid of “sick building” conditions – specifically toxic black mold, the structure’s interior must be gutted. The drywall in all infested rooms and areas must be removed. Plumbing and piping must be torn out. Wall, ceiling and floor joists must be taken out.

 

The entire area must be mitigated and remediated. Aired out, dried completely, and treated for hazardous chemicals and toxins.

 

Painters cannot do this. It’s a job for the professionals in toxic and hazardous materials handling. It is a big job. A labor-intensive job. A dangerous job.

 

Take note: If the actual infested surfaces and elements are not removed. Painters, and other staff members, working in redecorated guest rooms and public areas will still be exposed to the dangerous toxins.

 

Eventually, because the climatic conditions do not self-correct nor reverse themselves, the harmful fungal infestations will work their way into the new drywall, carpeting, textiles and fabrics, piping/plumbing, ductwork and ventilation system, etc. Little-by-little, or alarmingly fast!

 

Then, the toxic black mold fungi will show its ugly face all over again.

 

That’s one reason why, on the national news, you will see big piles of torn drywall inside and outside of houses and commercial buildings damaged by floods, hurricanes, etc. That’s why you’ll see entire houses gutted, and fully exposed wall joists and ceiling frames.

 

Painters must use great caution if they must continue to work in rooms and buildings that have been redecorated, but still harbor the toxic black fungi.

 

MY ADVICE FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

 

Every time you work in or near one of those areas, protect yourself. Still hidden somewhere is the same toxic fungi and infestation that you may have been responsible, previously, for treating.

 

  1. SUIT UP! Head-to-toe in a disposable plastic uniform and shoe covers (like surgeons wear).
  2. Wear disposable gloves with a wide, snug wristband, or that reach mid-forearm.
  3. Wear a hat.
  4. Wear a nose and mouth mask.
  5. Better yet: Use a free-standing breathing apparatus.
  6. Wear eye goggles that fit snugly.

 

Repeated, or prolonged, exposure to toxic black mold fungi should be avoided. The price that your body might have to pay tends to be much higher than you could have anticipated.

 

Most of you can’t afford – and don’t want – to skip around from workplace to workplace. And, in Florida, as well as other parts of the country, it’s hard to find a hotel property that does not have some kind of environmental problem.

 

So, please! Do whatever you can.  NO! Do whatever it takes – to protect yourself from the effects of toxic Black mold fungi infestation.

 

It’s a life-threatening and traumatic tragedy. Trust me!  The EPA, environmental experts and medical specialists can tell you all about it.

 

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The life you save from permanent damage by toxic black mold exposure could be your own!

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

 

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved

Paintshop: Working with Toxic Painting Chemicals

Protecting oneself from chemical exposure is the key to enjoying a long working life. In the coatings industry this is particularly important since coatings and paint materials contain any number of harmful components. With what they are designed to do, they have to. Paints must withstand the weather, corrosion, rigorous abrasion, and the penetrating rays of the sun.

 

Paint manufacturers and the chemists do their parts in helping to ensure the lasting quality and endurance of paint.

 

The painter is the one who applies a coating for a specific situation. Therefore, he is the one subject to the conditions produced in applying the material.

 

This is to inform you that you are in charge of what and how you are exposed to.

 

Here’s an example: You are assigned to paint the ceiling deck of a retail store. You assess the situation and realize there is certain equipment you will need. Namely a spray pump, fluid line, a spray gun, and possibly plastic to cover what doesn’t get painted.

 

If you are a seasoned professional, then you also know you must protect yourself. You know this because you have prior experience with the product you are going to use. The paint is composed of various inorganic solids and evaporative solvents which are dangerous to one’s health. But, that’s what the job calls for.

 

Under most circumstances, most anyone would say, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Figure out how you can paint the ceiling without becoming seriously ill. This was a major problem in the early 1900’s when there was lead in the paint, and painters had virtually no breathing protection. Their life expectancy was often shorter.

 

Today, however, the toxicity of the various paint chemicals has met its match. If the painter “works smart”, there is no longer a reason for him to suffer.

 

This is what’s available to the painter and to everyone serious about their health:

 

  1. Self- Enclosed Breathing Apparatus. Similar to what firefighters and scuba divers use, it provides the optimum conditions for breathing in a toxic environment. It is composed of a compressed oxygen air tank and a facial mask or a complete helmet.

 

  1. An Inorganic Vapor Respirator. This is the painter’s most universal tool next to the brush and spray gun. It is a face mask design containing filter cartridges which remove substances in the air before you inhale. The cartridges become filled with contaminants and must be replaced regularly. Caution: When in an enclosed space, the solvent concentration can build up to a point where the cartridges cannot prevent the solvent vapor from coming through. If you know this before hand, opt for the Self-Enclosed breathing system.

 

  1. Air Flow Mask. This is a simple system in which air is supplied to a transparent type bag mask. The incoming air blows through the mask providing you with breathable air, as well as blowing through an opening the size of your mouth and eyes. This current of air keeps any dust and overspray from entering. It is not recommended for keeping out high evaporative solvent vapor.

 

  1. Full Body Suit. It is a thin cloth suit which can be used under many conditions. A mechanic could use one to keep the grease and oil off of him. For the painter, it prevents paint overspray, paint platter and a minimal amount of solvents from coming in contact with his skin. In this, it keeps the chemical from being absorbed out into the bloodstream. The body suit is very important to have on hand.

 

  1. Head Sock, Eye Protection and Gloves. These are accessory items that provide additional protection. They are one of the best precautions you can take, because they protect vital areas. Sometimes these items are taken for granted. You may take them off and forget to put them back on because you’re so busy. Big mistake!

 

I once was working on a wood striping project, when my gloves became dissolved up by the solvent. I kept on working without them.

 

Later, when I had finished, I saw that my hands were extremely dry. I then thought to myself, “I wonder how much of that solvent made it into my bloodstream and into my brain. I felt a little queasy and I was wearing a respirator. See what can happen?

 

Recommendations: Be your own advocate. It’s your health that will suffer if you aren’t.

 

* When first starting to work with a product, read the manufacturer’s label where it concerns

safety precautions.

*My own personal advice: Have a box or container in your vehicle in which to store only safety

equipment.

*Always keep a spare set of respirator cartridges. When you can’t find any, you’re likely to

keep working.

*Some products are against the law for use to consumers. This means they are even more toxic.

 

When working with paints, coatings, and solvents, toxicity is self evident. Prepare yourself so you will live to paint another day, and not one in which your family loses you.

 

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Toxic exposure is everyone’s business on the job.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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