You’ve spent endless amounts of time planning to build your facility and spent more money than you care to think about. You’ve taken all the precautions to insure you have the best equipment to grow your plants. But have you considered the floor underneath your very feet?
Fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and constant exposure to water wreak havoc on concrete, brick, and other surfaces. In a 168 page study posted by the University of Mary Washington in Athens, Georgia entitled The Effect of Herbicide on Stone and Masonry, it was clearly demonstrated that mortar-based flooring such as concrete will show a marked decay when treated with pesticides, even if only exposed once or twice a year.
The same study indicates that most fertilizers/pesticides are salt based, producing efflorescence on the surface and in the pores and cracks of the masonry. When this salt forms, it expands into the substrate materials, thereby widening any crevices, cracks, and pores within the material. The salt can be washed away by water/rain but not before damage is done. Larger openings provide sizeable spaces for water, dirt, and vegetation to get into and further deteriorate the material, which could eventually lead to structural failure.
If you just spent a fortune on a new facility or refurbishing an older one, you might rightly ask what your options are to protect your floors. Most people are aware of epoxy-based floor paint as a protective barrier, but are there some risks to it. Consider this, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has clearly stated on their website that working with or exposing oneself to certain epoxies or resins could increase your chances of lung tumors, fertility problems, miscarriage, stillbirth or birth defects. The CDC goes on to explain that epoxies contain glycidyl ether, which the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) believes to possibly have adverse effects on the testes and the hemopoietic (blood forming) system in workers exposed to glycidyl ethers. Many glycidyl ethers are also carcinogenic.
The sad truth is that manufacturers are not required to list these harmful toxins. The CDC states that occupational exposure to glycidyl ethers results from the use of proprietary or trade name products, which do not disclose the presence of toxic agents in their formulations. This complicates efforts to take appropriate precautionary measures for the prevention of occupational diseases. The following is a copy of the MSDS statement pulled from the website of an off the shelf epoxy coating found in a major hardware store:
EFFECTS OF OVEREXPOSURE – CHRONIC HAZARDS: Prolonged or repeated overexposure may cause lung damage. Effects of overexposure may include irritation of the nose and throat, irritation of the digestive tract and signs of nervous system depression (e.g., headache, drowsiness, loss of coordination and fatigue). Contains carbon black. Chronic inflammation, lung fibrosis, and lung tumors have been observed in some rats experimentally exposed for periods of time to excessive concentrations of carbon black and several insoluble fine dust particles.
The current landscape for growers is ever-changing. If cannabis regulations go the way of food production facilities, having harmful toxins in your floor coating could cause long term liability issues, such as the health of your employees, crop destruction and the remodeling of your facility. If you want to prevent the decay of floors, and avoid the high cost of replacing them and potential health hazards, there are alternatives.
Instead of using potentially carcinogenic epoxies, there is a simpler solution that uses a natural mineral known as gypsum in combination with castor oil and silicates to provide a safe, long-lasting coating for floors. You can protect your facility while doing something good for yourself, your employees, and our planet. Gypsum is a natural mineral that is fire resistant and relatively inexpensive. Castor oil is a widely used coating that is safe and non-toxic.
If you’d like to learn more, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our coatings contain all-natural materials, plus no VOCs and or BPA. There’s no toxic off-gassing and our coatings hold an NSF61 certification safe for water containment and food grade production.
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About the Author
Michael Dzama is the President/CEO of Lifetime Green Coatings