Acrylic fume allergy?

I’m throwing this out here, just to see if anyone else has such a suspicion.
SWMBO has had this thought, as recently I seem to have developed bad itching, and I’ve been doing more acrylic cutting lately.
My fume extraction is good, but inevitably the smell of vaporized acrylic is noticeably different to the general ‘bonfire’ background that is at an acceptable level.
Coming from an early career in industrial plastics research, I find the smell pleasant, but I can understand her reaction will be different.
She has her own allergic problems, so is perhaps a little quick to make the association, but I would like to know if anyone else has this sort of experience.
Happy New Year friends,
John :upside_down_face:

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I get headaches when breathing acrylic fumes. I don’t know if it is the acrylic or the masking, but yes, sensitive people may react to the combustion results of certain materials. This is especially common with hardwood since the natural oils can be irritants.


It’s not uncommon among people with fabric allergies, like polyester.

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I’d like to keep the thread specific to the GF acrylic, if possible.
I’ve never had a problem with bonfires or bbq’s, so I assume that wood based products wouldn’t be a problem, and have no evidence for it.
But acrylics are something else.
By the way, I’ve been cutting polyester fabric adhered to draftboard with no problems.
John :upside_down_face:

right, but the bonfires/bbqs haven’t been with something exotic, like lacewood, which many people have allergies to when working the wood (cutting, sanding, etc.).

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Take a Claritin, or maybe a Zyrtec. If the itching gets better in 20 min or so, it’s allergies. I can’t guarantee it’s the acrylic, since there’s lots of stuff to be allergic to this time of year, but at least it might get you some relief.

(Note: Avoid Benadryl; you can use it topically if you want, but taken internally it’s not aging brain-friendly.)


I’m sure it’s possible, but I haven’t heard of it. I would first suspect something like a new laundry detergent or another recent environmental change.

I had a friend who quit their job, sold the house and moved because she thought the air pollution was affecting her. Turned out to be her laundry soap.


‘Aging brain friendly’… I may be 80+, but I’ll have you know my brain is only 54 ! :wink:
John :upside_down_face:


I was not aware of this. Thanks for the information. Benadryl has always zonked me so I avoid if it possible, but I need every brain cell possible.


Oddly enough, I used to make fan sticks from lacewood, which in UK was the same as London Plane, I think.
Slightly pink, network-like grain, and slightly waxy ?
Used it to make sticks for lace fans, unsurprisingly.
John :upside_down_face:

looks like this. you may not have an allergy to it, not everyone does. i am. i can feel it a bit in my lungs/throat and in my fingers. i very carefully washed my hands before touching anything more sensitive. handling it is fine, it’s the char/sawdust that causes me issues.


It seems most woodworkers find they have a specific wood that’s a problem for them.
For me it’s ebony. The solid wood is fine, but cutting it is like working with black pepper for me ! Instant sneezing fits.
John :upside_down_face:


i hope lacewood is the only one for me. i wish it was something more boring, lacewood is beautiful and i’m bummed that it’s just more than i’m willing to mess with.

Those first 26 years must have been interesting, But then I suppose the same might be said of my first 26 years.


Monomers and acrylates (by Products of burning acrylic) definitely cause sensitivities for some people.

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Could be absolutely anything. Change in detergent, soap, deodorant. New food item or just a new food allergy. Change in seasons. And while, yes, it could clear up with an allergy remedy, it just as well may not. My husband is allergic to all sorts of things. As long as the allergen remains present, allergy medicine does nothing.

My suggestion is to think carefully about anything different in your home since it started. Literally anything. If the acrylic is the only thing you can think of, stop cutting it for a week or so and see if the itching stops. If you can’t get it to stop, I recommend seeing your doctor and possibly getting a referral to an allergist and/or dermatologist to rule out allergies and/or eczema.


Oh, and there are other medical conditions that cause itchy skin… stuff related to liver problems and diabetes, for example.

Although that’s typically pretty obvious, subtle hyperbilirubinemia doesn’t typically cause itching, we only really see it when you have a lot of bilirubin (i.e. you are jaundiced). And as the bilirubin breaks down you get the itching. And for some reason we don’t see it in everyone. The other night I admitted someone the color of a post-it note with a bilirubin 20x normal and they didn’t have itching, so who knows.


I am allergic to ebony too. Makes my lips feel numb. :grimacing:

Benadryl is very anticholinergic, and choline deficit is one of the things we think causes dementia. Lots of other meds are, too – things like Meclizine and Ditropan in particular are ones that older people frequently have prescribed to them that I highly disapprove of.