Is Powder Coating Paint Toxic?

Powder coating has been commonplace in manufacturing since the 1950s, and remains one of the fastest-growing finishing technologies there is. The powder used during the coating process can be either a thermoplastic or a thermoset polymer.

Thermoplastics do not change their chemical composition while curing, which means they can be melted down and reused in other projects if needed. Thermoset polymers, meanwhile, do experience chemical changes at high temperatures, so they cannot be melted for reuse. However, they are much more durable than the average thermoplastic. They are usually made of epoxy, acrylics, polyurethane or polyester.

The powder coating gets applied through electrostatic charge—the dry powder is charged positively while being shot through an electrostatic gun, which then allows it to naturally stick to the grounded metal piece that has a negative charge. The entire part is then heated to 400 degrees to allow the coating to set in.

The entire process makes a part significantly more durable, allowing it to last for many years through repeated usage even in high-stress environments. But is it safe? More specifically, are there any concerns about the chemicals in the paint, and is it toxic to those working in a powder coating shop in Washington?

Paint safety among benefits of powder coating

One of the biggest benefits of powder coating is that the coatings themselves are extremely safe to use and handle. All of the powders used in powder coating processes are non-toxic, non-volatile and completely safe, whether they’re being sprayed or simply sitting in one spot.

Contrast this with wet paint, which can be carcinogenic, flammable and otherwise hazardous to employees if they do not handle it properly. Instead, powder coating has no known short- or long-term health dangers, and does not cause any risk of fire or other workplace hazards.

This safety for humans also applies to the surrounding environment. Powder coatings do not contain any volatile organic compounds or solvents, which means you can either dispose of them in landfills or recycle them. Their use has an extremely low impact on the earth’s atmosphere, and because they are not at all hazardous, you don’t need to worry about having to spring for expensive equipment for better pollution control management.

Safety is just one of the many benefits of powder coating. Consider also:

  • Powder coating is associated with lower energy costs and reduced disposal costs
  • Its ability to be reused in other applications makes for less waste overall, as any oversprayed powder can be collected to be used again
  • It is a highly efficient means of painting and coating, as it just takes one coat to finish the application (and a single coat covers more area)
  • It can resist chipping, scratching, corrosion, weathering, chemicals and fading
  • It is incredibly durable and helps its coated materials last for many years to come

When you combine all of these benefits with the safety and non-toxicity of the paint, it’s easy to see why powder coating is constantly growing in popularity.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact our powder coating shop in Washington.