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Methacrylates and Do-It-Yourself Products

There are many uses of products containing methacrylate-based (acrylic) polymers in consumer, semi-professional, or Do-It-Yourself (DIY) applications.  In contrast to the handling of liquid methacrylate monomers which requires special precautions, routine handling of high molecular weight methacrylate-based polymer products generally require no special procedures. 

The precise level of residual monomer in the polymer is considerably influenced by the production processes and conditions used. There are three basic types; emulsion, bulk and solution polymers. Emulsion polymers are frequently used in paints, adhesives, or coatings for paper or textiles and have the lowest residual monomer level. Bulk polymers are typically provided in the form of a rigid article, either molded, extruded or in sheet form and have very low residual monomer levels. Common examples of solution polymers are varnishes, adhesives or coatings and may be supplied in a solvent or contain low levels of residual solvent. Solution polymers generally have the highest residual monomer levels, which are still relatively low. The levels of monomer residues in all of these polymer types should not typically require safety and handling procedures beyond those generally regarded as suitable for the types of tasks involved. 

It should be recognized that all acrylic polymers decompose to some extent at elevated temperatures.   Since typical fabrication or polymer treatment processes may involve elevated temperatures, the user is recommended to follow very closely any safe handling guidance provided by the manufacturer of these products.  

Semi-professional, consumer, DIY and hobbyist applications that involve the use of acrylic polymers in combination with liquid methacrylate monomer(s), solvents or other chemicals will require the user to assess the combination of products being used.  This could include contacting the supplier/manufacturer(s) of the other chemicals for any additional safe handling guidance not already covered by the label instructions or (material) safety data sheets ((M)SDS) provided. Depending upon the product composition, this may include specific recommendations to avoid skin contact by the wearing of gloves and/or to avoid inhalation of vapors by ensuring good ventilation or the wearing of respiratory protection. These unreacted liquid chemicals should never be poured down drains or discarded in domestic or public waste, but instead sent to a chemical-waste collection site.