Methacrylates and Skilled Trade
Some end-products intended for use by skilled trade or professional users contain relatively high proportions of unreacted monomer. These are often referred to as monomer/polymer systems. Examples include certain reactive cements, monomer based paints etc. In contrast to the industrial setting where the conditions for safe use can be engineered, skilled trade or professional users often have to rely on general ventilation or personal protective equipment as conventional engineering controls are often less effective or impractical. Notwithstanding this, priority should always be placed on the use of engineering controls over reliance of personal protective equipment.
Since methacrylate monomers are volatile organic compounds, there is a potential for exposure to both vapors and the liquid when handling products containing liquid monomer.
Inhalation of Methacrylate Vapors
Methacrylate monomers have a characteristic odor and are irritating to the respiratory system. In addition, the acid is corrosive to the respiratory system. If there is insufficient natural ventilation to ensure compliance with the threshold limit value (TLV) then forced ventilation, or failing that, respiratory protection should be worn.
Contact with Liquid Methacrylate Monomers
It is recognized that Methacrylic acid is corrosive and the esters are weak skin sensitizers (contact allergens). Because of this MPA recommends that skin contact with liquid monomer is always avoided — wear protective gloves. See MPA's Position regarding the use of methacrylates in nail extensions and MPA's statment regarding gel nails.
As liquid monomers are typically formulated with other chemical substances in end-use products, users should always read the information contained within the SDS provided by the supplier of the end-product as it should contain important advice on how to use and dispose of the product safely.
Further information that may be helpful is contained in Methacrylate Monomers: Safe Use of Gloves, but this should be regarded as subordinate to any advice provided by the end-product manufacturer.