FURANES.... their safe use in foundries


This leaflet gives advice on current good practice

Furanes (mainly furane resins) are used extensively in cold-set processes in combination with furfuryl alcohol and mineral acids to create bonding resins.

FURANES.... their safe use in foundries

The common furanes, phenolic furane and urea furane, are supplied in liquid form, and at normal temperature do not give off vapours. Skin sensitisation and allergic contact dermatitis can arise from prolonged contact with the liquid or from exposure to high concentrations of vapour when the substances are heated.

Vapours arising during foundry processes are irritant to the eyes, skin and respiratory tract and are potential respiratory sensitisers.

Absorption through the skin can lead to a toxic effect on the central nervous system.

How to reduce risk

Local exhaust ventilation may be used to control exposure. Any worker who is involved with the use, storage or transport of these resins should be instructed on the associated dangers and necessary precautions. This may include the proper use of goggles, and PVC gloves and aprons.

Complying with occupational exposure limits

No occupational exposure limit has been set for furanes. Data supplied by manufacturers should therefore be consulted and exposures adequately controlled in the light of that advice.

Regular checking and maintenance

It is advisable that local exhaust ventilation (LEV) used to control exposure is subject to frequent checks for damage, in addition to the routine testing and examination, to ensure that it is operating effectively.

Appropriate personal protective equipment may need to be worn when maintenance activities are carried out on plant using furanes.

The duty of suppliers

Suppliers have a duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the chemicals they supply are safe and present no health risks when properly used, handled, processed, stored or transported. They must provide customers with a description of the hazards involved and the safety precautions necessary to overcome those hazards. This advice usually comes in the form of product safety data sheets, and users are advised always to request copies from suppliers.

Advice given in these safety data sheets may form the basis for training and instruction given to employees.

Safe labelling and storage

Containers of chemicals should be properly labelled and stored in a safe place, protected from damage from passing traffic and in an area surrounded by a low sill to retain spills and leaks.

Commercial furane binders are generally flammable and adequate precautions should be taken to store the material away from sources of ignition. Containers should also be stored separately from any catalysts, hardeners, oxidising agents and sources of heat.

Dealing with spillages

Prompt action is required to deal with spillages and leaks. Suitable supplies of decontaminating materials should be kept available and employees instructed on dealing safely with such situations. These instructions will include the precautions that may be necessary to deal with the high levels of vapour that could be produced in such a situation.

Provision needs to be made for the subsequent decontamination of all protective clothing and equipment used in the clean up.

Waste disposal

Empty drums and containers should be properly labelled and stored in a safe place until they can be taken away by an authorised contractor for proper disposal. Alternatively, suitable arrangements may be made with the supplier for collection of empty containers and drums.

Other available information

This leaflet was produced by the Foundries Industry Advisory Committee, set up by the Health and Safety Commission to advise on the protection of foundry workers from hazards to their health and safety while at work. Other leaflets in this free series are listed below.

You can also obtain further specialist advice from HSE's Molten Metals National Interest Group at:

Brunel House
Fitzalan Road
Cardiff CF2 1SH
Tel: 01222 473777

or from any branch of HSE - see under Health and Safety Executive in your telephone directory.

Recommended reading

Priced publications

Monitoring strategies for toxic substances HSG173 HSE ISBN 0 7176 1411 5

Health surveillance under COSHH - guidance for employers HSE ISBN 0 7176 0491 8

Occupational exposure limits EH40/95 HSE ISBN 0 7176 0876 X (updated annually)

General COSHH ACOP Legal 5 HSE ISBN 0 7176 0819 0

The maintenance, examination and testing of local exhaust ventilation HS(G) 54 HSE ISBN 0 11 885438 0

COSHH - its application in the foundry HSE ISBN 0 11 885591 3

Foundry hazard leaflets (free)

  • IAC(L)36 - Chlorine (rev)
  • IAC(L)87 - Furfuryl alcohol
  • IAC(L)88 - Formaldehyde
  • IAC(L)89 - Acidic binder catalysts

HSE priced and free publications are available by mail order from:
HSE Books, TSO Customer Services, PO Box 29, Norwich, NR3 1GN
Tel: +44 (0)333 202 5070

HSE priced publications are also available from all good booksellers.

Other enquiries should be directed to HSE's Public Enquiry Point, Broad Lane, Sheffield S3 7HQ.

This leaflet contains notes on good practice which are not compulsory but which you may find helpful in considering what you need to do.

This publication may be freely reproduced, except for advertising, endorsement or sale purposes. The information it contains is current at 6/95. Please acknowledge the source as HSE.

Printed and published by the Health and Safety Executive

IAC(L)90 - 6/95

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