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Hey guys,

 

How's it going? I'm fairly new to model building but loving it. However, I've noticed recently that I've been getting a lot of headaches and I think it's from the paint I'm using for the parts. I've been researching respiratory masks like these to see if they help. Does anyone have any recommendations? I'm looking for something that will get the job done but be fairly inexpensive. 

 

Any help would be much appreciated,

Cheers,

Chris

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I'm not a doctor, but I play one on the internet! :D 

 

Your headaches could have any of a large number of causes, so we're just guessing here. Diagnosis is an exercise in a process of elimination. It could be paint solvent fumes, but, frankly, you'd have to be doing a lot of painting to be getting a lot of headaches from that. Are these headaches always happening during or shortly after painting? Are you using solvent-based paints? Solvent inhalation can cause headaches, but allergic reactions to acrylic (water-based) paints are almost always the result of physical contact with the paint and symptoms are runny noses, itching, rashes, and skin irritation. Acrylics aren't generally recognized as having anything to do with headaches.

 

Many people are very sensitive to cyanoacrylate glue fumes. Exposure to "Super Glue" fumes frequently causes headaches for many. The solution is, as with any sort of fumes, to "only use in a well ventilated space." Exposure to sawdust from various wood species will also cause allergic reactions in many people. These vary in frequency and intensity depending on the species of wood and include headaches and respiratory symptoms. Sawdust allergic reactions are a "gift that keeps on giving," because you're exposed not only while actually sawing the wood, but also from the ambient dust contaminating your work area thereafter for as long as it remains.

 

Common "respiratory masks" only filter out particulates like sawdust, but not fumes. There are specialty masks for "fumes," but they are questionably effective, depending on the type of fumes involved and failure to properly replace costly filter cartridges renders them worse than useless. Complete protection from fumes requires an isolated air supply pumped into the mask and that equipment is expensive and cumbersome to wear. Frankly, for modeling purposes, adequate ventilation of the work area should resolve any adverse effects of any solvent fumes produced by the relatively small amount of exposure generally experienced by modelers. Opening a window to provide a ventilation flow, and, if necessary placing a fan in front of the window to exhaust the air in the room, or even to just blow a light current of air across the work area should do the trick without requiring you to "suit up" with hazmat gear.

 

If that doesn't do the trick for you, you should also consider other causes of headaches. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say that eye strain from doing protracted fine work and lighting issues are a more frequent cause of headaches associated with modeling than inhaled allergens. Posture is another frequent cause of headaches. Hunched immobile over a bench top for long periods can stress spine and neck muscles and cause headaches.

 

There is, as many know, another very common cause of headaches around the house, but you'll need a divorce attorney to cure that problem! :D

 

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The type of headache may help in determining the cause.

Muscles at the back of the head along the spine = tension

Like a skull cap = the blood vessels

Above the eyes and nose - sinus

 

If the source is an organic solvent - which is a gas,  I am not sure that a mask that excludes physical particles would be of much help.

Activated charcoal might bind it, but that is a process subject to saturation.

Isolating the paint to an air volume that is not one where you are breathing could solve the problem if that is the source.

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What kind of paint is causing your headaches?  Acrylics have solved problems for a lot of modelers.  Particle protection is still needed.

Kurt

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