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Respiratory Therapist/Chest pain after working with resin


Hello - I am experiencing chest pain after working with polyester based resin. I work with it rather frequently and I use a respirator mask with organic vapor cartridges while exposed to the fumes during the curing process. I've also been exposed to dust particles from sanding cured resin. I am not always good about wearing a dust mask while sanding, so I am suspicious of that as the cause of the chest pain.

The chest pain started as very light/dull and in the upper right region of my chest. It became more noticeable after recent exposures to the resin. After my most recent exposure, the chest pain became significantly worse and seemed to radiate to a larger area of my chest.

I plan on seeing a doctor and taking a break from the resin work until I get a better idea of how serious this is. Any insight you could provide would be much appreciated, thank you!

Hi Louis,

Thanks for trusting me with your medical question and concerns.  I don't know much about working with polyester resins, but I do know as a general rule, all component materials should be used correctly to avoid any adverse impact on the environment or human health. Since unsaturated polyester (UP) resins contain styrene as the most important monomer, which is a flammable substance, these resins are therefore classified as dangerous goods and certain lots of precautions have to be followed with regard to transport, storage and handling.

More specifically, the inhalation of styrene vapour should be avoided, if necessary by using personal respiratory protection. Prevent resins coming into contact with skin and eyes, by wearing appropriate safety clothing such as gloves, coveralls and goggles.  Decanting and mixing of UP resins should be carried out in a separate well-ventilated room, to reduce the likelihood of styrene vapours drifting into adjacent working areas. Follow the manufacturer's instructions when mixing and blending additives, accelerators, fillers and peroxides. Being reactive materials, certain additives or combinations of additives can cause unwanted reactions.  Residual catalysed resin products.  So yes, working around these without a high-quality respirator mask would be inviting all kinds of issues, moreso related to the lungs and even heart.  I hope this helps.

Best of health to you!

Larry, RRT

Respiratory Therapist

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Larry W. Wical, BA-RRT


I CAN answer: ALL questions and queries related to the following topics... - Oxygen - Asthma - COPD - Bronchitis - Emphysema - Pneumonia (Viral/Bacterial) - Tuberculosis (TB) - SARS - Influenza (Flu) - Vaccines - Pulmonary Embolism - Pleural Effusion - Atelectasis - Inhalation injuries (burns, chemicals, etc.) - PFTs - Cardiovascular health - Sleep Apnea - BiPap/CPAP - Ventilators ("Respirators") - Aspiration injuries - Thoracic injuries - Lung contusions - Tracheal injuries - Artificial Tracheostomy - Secretions - Prolotherapy/Regenerative Injection Therapy (RIT): A patient's experience/perspective - General health and fitness I CANNOT answer: Questions that vary too far from my primary scope of pulmonary and cardiovascular care and fitness. I promise to be open and honest about my knowledge of submitted topics, and will always openly provide my personal as well as professional feedback as it relates.


Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT, RCP) since 2005. I have worked primarily in the acute care, critical care, burn care and home care settings.

NBRC - National Board of Respiratory Care AARC - American Association of Respiratory Care

-All About Kids Magazine -The Clermont Sun -Cincy Sports & Fitness Magazine -Many online Fitness and Health blogs and "webazines"

- B.A. in Communication (1997) - A.A.S. in Respiratory Science (2005) - RRT license (state of OH, KY and IN) - Basic Life Saving (BLS) - Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) - Advanced Burn Life Support (ABLS)

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Currently work in the city's largest academic/research hospital.

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