6 Safety Myths You Believe
I’ve Been Licking My Brush For Years and I’m Fine
Let’s skip past the part where I explain how gross it is to lick your brush. That should be self-evident. We’ll also skip the part where I consult a bunch of MSDS to make sure what I’m saying is accurate. What I really want to talk about is how unreliable anecdotal evidence is and how you shouldn’t bet your health on it. There is a difference between acute and chronic toxicity. Some materials will have strong acute symptoms and no chronic symptoms.
If you expose me to cat dander I will have an allergic reaction. Remove the cat and my allergies will go away. Do this every day for years and while I may become more allergic to the cat my symptoms will go away when the cat does.
Now, expose me to benzene enough to give me acute symptoms every day for years and I am more likely to get cancer or suffer from reproductive problems, even if I’m never exposed to benzene again.
Should I Be Scared
Don’t be scared, get educated. It isn’t hard to search the web for MSDS on any product you are using. If you can’t find one, contact the manufacturer. If they won’t provide one you should find an alternative to the product if possible.
As for licking your brush, there’s nothing saliva can do that unloading your brush on a napkin can’t. If drawing a brush loaded with paint using a slight twisting motion doesn’t give you a fine point you either need to thin your paint or replace your brush. All the spittle in the world won’t help.
Superglue Knife Cuts Closed
The trusty hobby knife. Super-sharp and often the only tool you need. If you aren’t careful it can give you a nasty cut but before you run off to the emergency room you may be surprised to learn that the same glue you use to stick your metal and resin miniatures together was originally designed to do the same job for people. It’s true, my daughter had a cut closed with glue at the doctor’s. Granted I’ve since read that you should use glue for cuts to the face or for cuts which are bleeding or cuts where the skin is pulling apart, but I saw glue used as an alternative to stitches by a doctor.
What I didn’t see, however, was the brand name of the glue the doctor used. I’ll wager money that it wasn’t Testors, however. Yes, cyanoacrylate glue was said to be used in the Vietnam War to slow bleeding until soldiers could be brought to a hospital. However the types of glues that are approved by the FDA are not the kind sold in hobby shops. Specifically, medical cyanoacrylate glue is designed to be less toxic that traditional cyanoacrylate. Which is to say, they are both toxic and the model glues especially can cause chemical burns which slow healing and increase the amount of scarring once the wound is healed.
Should I Be Scared
I’m not sure how scared you should be in this case. Likely you will be scarred but I’m not sure how many modelers are overly concerned with their careers as hand models. There are glues sold as liquid “bandaids” which I would think are better suited for the job. It is important to properly clean any wounds before dressing them. An employee at my last job pulled dirty hockey equipment over a cut on his elbow and ended up in hospital with a flesh eating bacterial infection.
Knife Cuts Are To Be Expected
What I would be more scared about is your horrible knife safety which caused your cut in the first place. Sure, most cuts are superficial and aside from concerns about pain and infection aren’t anything to worry about. However I’ve read stories of people cutting tendons and causing permanent damage with utility and hobby knives.
I love watching hobby videos on Youtube and have been watching a series where the presenter has terrible knife skills. Not only is this modeler drawing his knife towards himself he’s also using the thumb of his other hand to stabilize the piece. This means if he slips he’s likely to cut deeply into his other hand. He talks about how cutting himself is a regular hazard he deals with and even recommended CA glue over adhesive bandages for repairs.
I’m no saint, I draw my blade towards myself as well. I like to hold my knife in my fingers and draw it towards the thumb of the same hand. I position my thumb so that if I slip the handle of the knife will hit my thumb instead of the blade. The only injuries I experience are very rare accidents where I poke myself slightly with the tip of the blade when I’m adjusting the position of the piece. When you are using a knife think about what would happen if you slipped and where the knife might end up.
The last myth is also the most deadly and I almost forgot about it.