The following question and answer might be of value to some of your users
I WORK FOR ONE THE THE LARGE ELECTRONICS COMPANY'S HERE IN THE
VALLEY. I WORK AROUND VERY HAZARDIS CHEMICALS SOME KNOWN TO ME AS E-6, HF. I ALSO WORK AROUND RF. EVERY DAY WHILE IN WORK MY EYES WATER, BURN, I HAVE TO BLINK VERY OFTEN TO KEEP MY EYES FROM FALLING OUT. PEOPLE AROUND ME ASK WHY I BLINK AND SWINT SO MUCH. I ONLY DO THIS AT WORK DURING MY 8 HR SHIFT. COULD THIS HAVE TO DO WITH THE WORK AREA. ALSO I WORK UNDER YELLOW LIGHTS ALL DAY AT WORK ALSO.
=========================================================================== Various chemicals have, from time to time, been implicated in causing irritation of the eyes. Solvent fumes such as E-6 and etchants such as HF are known cuses of this problem. The fumes of HydroFlouric acid combine with water to form a very caustic solution which is strong enough to etch glass. Solvents, especially degreasers, can alter the tear film layer of the eye by dissolving out the lipid component of tears. When the lipid (fat) portion of tears is reduced, the eyes will feel dry and more tearing results. These tears will also be acted upon by the solvent and the cycle will continue. Immediate treatment of such cases is removal from the causative environment. The symptoms are treated with artificial tear agents which act to stabilize the tear layer allowing the eye to come back to normal. The accompanying blood vessel reaction is treated with an anti- inflammatory agent which also acts to reduce the cellular response which resembles an "allergic" reaction. Generally relief is immediate but the total response time depends upon the duration and amount of exposure.
Continued exposure can lead to the usual signs and symptoms of chronic contact reactions with the appearence of scarring, pterygia formation, thickened lids and drying of the skin. Continued tearing leads to glare and to skin irritation. Atopic dermatitis is sometimes seen in severe cases and sensitization of the eyes to other chemicals can occur.
The eye is not the only part of the body to be involved. The mucous membranes of the mouth and nose as well as the lining of the air passages and lungs are also reacting to this insult. Some of this material will find passage into the circulation as well and thereby affect distant, internal organs. The information on such dispersal is not great. In short, not much is known. To respect the unknown is prudent and a survival trait of great value.
OSHA has very clear guidelines to the safety levels of such chemicals however, these reccomendations are general and do not take into consideration individual sensitivity. The wearing of contact lenses in such an environment and under such circumstances is not reccomended.
Electronics fabrication facilities, especially those involved in manufacturing circuit boards use a variety of exotic solvents. This fact coupled with the fumes from fluxes and soldering makes such an area a real eye hazard. It is becoming readily apparent, that while the human animal is very adaptable and hard to destroy, there is a limit to the toxicity levels that can be tolerated. We continue to produce "aerosols" of increasing toxicity with no thought to their longterm effects. "Guidelines" from OSHA and others not-with-standing, the levels set as safe are far to high. My advice to the questioner is to demand transfer to a healthier portion of the plant.