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Old 04-06-2006, 07:19 AM   #1
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Default Traction Compounds : Health Risks : what can we do about this?

Hi,

Given the response this discussion topic received in Scotty and Boomer's IIC forum, it is only fair to them that we not hijack their thread and move this discussion to a new thread.

The general idea here is that the traction compounds that we use today contain chemicals that can cause serious health risks with a lot of exposure, and if you are like most drivers you likely have a lot of exposure to this stuff especially at big races. My initial comment was that i would like to see these compounds banned, and athough most seem to agree it would be good to get rid of them this would create challenges in terms of grip (which I think can be overcome) and people finding creative ways to use it anyway and achieve a substantial grip advantage (which is a much more difficult problem to solve requireing either more manpower to handout and return tires after each race, or perhaps special chemical testing procedures?).

My other idea is to ask the manuf. of these compounds to change the ingredients to use less harmful chemicals and indicate what chemicals are in the product so that we can make informed decisions. If for some reason these less harmful chemicals produce less grip, then it is up to the race organizer to inforce which traction compounds are used at a given race, just like we do today.

Here is some information on the chemicals that are found in Paragon according to a post in the IIC forum.

(1) methyl salicylate (synthetic oil of wintergreen)


Health Hazards Acute & Chronic: MAY BE IRRITATING TO SKIN/EYES.HARMFUL IF SWALLOWED.DRINKING RELATIVELY SMAL AMTS (10-30ML)HAS CAUSED POISONING & DEATH SIMILAR TO THAT SEEN IN ASPIRIN POISONING.

Signs & Symptoms of Overexposure:
TARGET ORGANS EFFECTS:REPEATED DAILY APPLICATION OF LG AMTS TO SKIN OF RABBITS HAS CAUSED KIDNEY DMG.EFFECTS IN HUMANS UNK.EXCESSIVE EXPO MAY RESULT IN SIMILAR EFFECTS.REPEATED DOSING ORALLY/DERMALLY OF LG AMTS TO RATS HAS CAUSED REPRODUCTIVE EFFECTS.EFFECTS IN HUMAN ARE UNK.EXCESSIVE EXPO MAY RESULT IN SIMILAR EFFECTS

(2)Hexanes

Health Hazards Acute & Chronic: INHALATION: HARMFUL. MAY CAUSE NERVOUS SYSTEM INJURY. SKIN: IRRITATION. HARMFUL IF ABSORBED. EYES: CAUSES IRRITATION. INGESTION: LOW ORAL TOXICITY.

Signs & Symptoms of Overexposure:
DIZZINESS, GIDDINESS, HEADACHE, NAUSEA, BLURRED VISION, LOSS OF APPETITE & WEIGHT, NUMBNESS, WEAKNESS OF ARMS & LEGS, IRRITATION
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Last edited by Martin Crisp; 04-06-2006 at 11:36 AM.
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Old 04-06-2006, 07:33 AM   #2
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Thank GOD I only use paragon on my tires and dont feed it to my pet rats
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Old 04-06-2006, 07:36 AM   #3
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I definitely agree that the ingredients should be listed on all traction compounds.

The trick is to evolve to a traction compound that works well under two very different circumstances: club racing where a 'green' track is really a problem and then high volume events like the IIC, Cleveland, etc.

The key question is what are we asking the traction compound to actually do.

1) Soften the foam - the interesting thing is that this might be what a lot of the more dangerous chemicals do. However, gigantic progress has been made over the years in the sophistication of compounds and now even the two stage foams. I really question whether there is any ongoing need for traction compounds to soften the foam. I however perceive, and I am sure others will 'clarify' my understanding, that this is the main thing that Paragon does.

2) Create 'grip' via stickiness - Jack the Gripper seems to more add a coating of stickiness on the outside of the foam. Although obviously not real citrus, almost similar to how one's hands get sticky after eating an orange (for those who actually still eat real fruit).

What I have often wondered would be the viability of using a sugar water-based compound both in advance on the carpet itself and then on the tires. Yes, it might attract ants (and no we would not want to mix insecticide in with the spray) but you could put a few cheap ant traps around the outside of the track or whatever.

I welcome folks fixing my incorrect facts.
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Old 04-06-2006, 07:43 AM   #4
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let's add to the list.

Lubricants and Greases
Loctite
Paint
Solder/flux
CA

its all about volume.

If you want to get serious, race rubber - no compounds. Of course this means tire cost will go up as we will want balanced tires without any release agent left on them and the whole nine yards.
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Old 04-06-2006, 07:44 AM   #5
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Martin,

You are a well respected racer, and your going to feel the rath of the PARAGON MAFIA.....

I too suffer from the effects of Paragon, but only have the deal with it once or twice a year. I think we need to be more aware of all the Chemical we are exposed to in this hobby. Tire additives, Motor Spray, Paints, lubes....
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Old 04-06-2006, 07:44 AM   #6
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Its definitely possible to produce a traction compound that isn't harmful. I used to race karts and there is a company that sells a compund call Trac-tac. (It may be spelled slightly different, the can is at home and I'm at work right now) I believe the website is something like www.trac-tac.com if I remember right. Again I can confirm tonight.

First, the stuff works insanely well on kart tires (rubber). So if something can be made to work in other applications, I dont see why someone couldn't make something for RC.

Second, the stuff is nearly harmless - just dont drink it of course. Actually some of their stuff smells like grapes!
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Old 04-06-2006, 07:47 AM   #7
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Well, it would be nice if the stuff could be made from less dangerous stuff, but the side effects of methyl salicylate (synthetic oil of wintergreen) as stated in the first post do not sound any more dangerous or different than any normal household product.

I mean some stuff is just not ment to be swallowed. A lot of products out there can irritate skin and prolonged contact to a lot of stuff, such as normal motor oil, can be dangerous and have supposed various side effects.

Also stated says that rabbits and rats were used to find out what the effects of the chemicals would be. There are various arguments on this like just because it effects rabbits one way doesn't mean it will effect humans the same way. More importantly IMO is just how much of the chemical the rabbits and rats were exposed too to obtain those results. For instance the studies that show Nutrasweet as cancer causing in rats subjected rats to more Nutrasweet in a 1 week period of time than even the most Nutrasweet hungry human could ever possibly consume in 1 years time. How valid are those test results? Not very! Anything in great quantities, EVEN WATER, can be dangerous and deadly.

I have used Paragon in the past so I am aware that the fumes can make you lightheaded and buzzed, but are the fumes as dangerous or more so than those from model glue or even a Sharpie permanent marker? I don't know the answer to this but if they are not, what's the harm?

Heck, the chemicals used every day to develop photos are incredibly dangerous (and there are 3 different chemicals needed, not just one) and there are a lot more people exposed to these checmicals every day than those exposed to Paragon. One chemical in particular can burn the hair out of your nose from just smelling it uncut from the bottle (I know, I've done it...I actually passed out).

Personally, just like smoking or drinking, it should be left up to the individual racer, track owner or race promotor to determine what traction compound is used. I do not believe that it should be banned or that Paragon and others should be forced to stop making it or change it's chemistry. In the end, it's not any worse than anything else we are exposed to on a daily basis.

By the way, I'm not a Paragon fan. My track does not allow it and I've never used it!
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Old 04-06-2006, 07:52 AM   #8
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At our track we sometimes spray the carpet with paragon and grip comes up pretty fast. I don't know for sure but lets say we just sprayed the track and did not put traction compound on our tires maybe the grip will still come up and it would be ok. You would still have the wintergreen smell for a while until the place vented out. I think saucing the tires at least at big races only really helps for the first few laps then your working off the traction that is in the carpet.
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Old 04-06-2006, 07:53 AM   #9
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Yes, very much like smoking, smoking is getting banned in public places... Because you really have no choice but to breath it ( other then leave ). I know outside on foams, we use Go-Jo and Suntan Lotion, and they work pretty good...( both products specifically designed for contact with human skin)


Quote:
Originally Posted by koabich
Personally, just like smoking or drinking, it should be left up to the individual racer, track owner or race promotor to determine what traction compound is used. I do not believe that it should be banned or that Paragon and others should be forced to stop making it or change it's chemistry. In the end, it's not any worse than anything else we are exposed to on a daily basis.
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Old 04-06-2006, 08:08 AM   #10
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the other reality is that mixing compounds on track, with different people using different ones, just creates slime.

thus, each event really needs to suggest just one (and folks who use another (i.e., Paragon or whatever) illegally) often would not have an advantage.
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Old 04-06-2006, 08:18 AM   #11
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www.tracktac.com ... and they warn you that they dont use cancer causing compounds but that you still need to be careful.
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Old 04-06-2006, 08:29 AM   #12
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I think i may be the only person who likes the stink of paragon.
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Old 04-06-2006, 08:40 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Billanti
I think i may be the only person who likes the stink of paragon.
Nope, I like it too. I can't believe EVERYONE doesn't like it.
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Old 04-06-2006, 08:43 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mason
www.tracktac.com ... and they warn you that they dont use cancer causing compounds but that you still need to be careful.
I noticed none of that stuff is for sale in California. DOH!!! Dang treehuggers....
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Old 04-06-2006, 08:50 AM   #15
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I used to be an auto painter and got more exposure from that then I ever will from Traction additives. There is one place you are forgetting about when it comes to exposure, the eyes transfer more chemicals more quickly then any other type of exposure. Myself using it on a weekly basis not daily, I`m no more worried , then before......Paul.........
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