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Thread: Guitar Toxicity?

  1. #1

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    Guitar Toxicity?

    Ok so most would probably consider this a dumb question, but has anyone ever asked the question of the poly that EB is using? I know they recommend gunstock oil for the unfinished necks, but most gunstock oil has some kind of petroleum in it and actually can't be sold in california. In fact mineral oil is a class 1 carcinogen which technically means it is not as toxic, but in reality it would be great to know if you could use vegetable oil, olive or grapeseed oil instead. Most people don't realize how toxic their guitars or even guitar picks are. I was suprised to find out that most guitar picks contain formaldehyde and I think some even contain bpa. I just recently bought an acoustic with the nitro finish and it smells horrible. From my understanding that finish is highly toxic. In fact it will rub off on your skin and you can smell it on your skin. There's another company of electrics that uses this finish and everyones like "ohh this is wonderful it smells like vanilla". Anyways, some people don't see these substances as a threat, but if you look at all the people with cancer and sickness in America maybe you will have a little bit of understanding of toxicity. Toxicity adds up and then people think they are spontaneously sick without realizing the true cause of their sickness. So with that said I know EBMM is in California so maybe they use better lower toxic substances than the others? Anyone have some insight?

    Added: One thing I really like about musicman is that I don't get a real heavy toxic smell when opening a brand new guitar case.
    Last edited by jvh; 04-16-2013 at 12:53 PM.

  2. #2

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    I'd recommend you to play with gloves

    Joke aside, if there was something dangerous in playing guitar do you think BB King will still be here?
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  3. #3

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    I have often thought about this, but never really wanted to ask the questions, I'm glad you did! I felt put off buying a particular strat a while back as I didn't like the idea of a nitro finish and how it would essentially be worn away in part by contact from playing. Surely this can't be good for you? If it was toxic to apply, would it still then be when touched etc. especially considering the amount of hours you would expect to be putting into playing a guitar.

  4. #4

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    I take what you say but we need a pragmatic not a sensationalist approach here don't you think?

    For example, if I was working in the factory that made the pics, or sprayed the nitro finish, my exposure to these carcinogens could potentially be lethal, unless the necessary H & S precautions are followed.

    My view is that the exposure I have had to such unguents over the last 42+ years has not had a detrimental effect. Infact my recent medical check up indicates all is as good as it should be.

    So yeah, there are dangers in life - but personally all things considered / evaluated I'm happy play nitro celly finished guitars, use dubious pics, and spread Birchwood Casey gunstock oil using my finger, and worry about other things that in all probability will see me off.

    Interesting thread though, but does this mean that lawyers around the world will be pursuing lawsuits against plectrum manufacturers? Birchwood Casey have put those warnings on their label to cover their buts and to preclude the sensationalist law suits that could ensue.

    Get real (Spud leaves and shakes his head).
    Last edited by Spudmurphy; 04-16-2013 at 03:13 PM.
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  5. #5

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    There is something interesting that most people don't know about toxins. Most toxins actually affect you neurologically. What does that mean? You don't know you are being poisoned. Believe it or not most 60 and 70 year olds probably think they are at the same mental capacity as their 20s. The proper term is neurotoxins. Neurotoxic activity is never measured biologically by doctors. Doctors used to smoke camels as well. All medical check ups are good until they are really bad. A lot of these toxins actually destroy and mutate cells. Most older people don't die of old age, but due to immune system destruction. Immune systems being destroyed by antibiotics, chemo, hormones etc etc(by the way all pharmalogical toxins). If you weakin the immune system the eventual effect of these toxins is amplified. Immune system being the biological mechanisms in place to identify substances and eliminate them. Of course there are other ways to rid the body of these substances, but why not just avoid them. If you think toxins don't affect you get a metal or hair follicle test.
    Last edited by jvh; 04-16-2013 at 03:24 PM.

  6. #6

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    We breathe the same air as what they are spraying China. We are screwed no matter how you look at it.
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by jvh View Post
    If you think toxins don't affect you get a metal or hair follicle test.
    Could be difficult - huh BP lol.

    Seriously guys, my family history says that statistically, I will die of heart trauma. Have I done anything about it?
    Yup
    1) I gave up smoking.
    2) My hypertension is now under control through
    a) medication.
    b) excellent diet
    c) exercise
    My cholesterol is within the medical requirements
    d) the balance of good / bad cholesterol is at a medically preferred level.
    3)My ECG shows no heart abnormalities - good news for me.
    4) My kidney functions are fine

    but I do play (sometimes) a nitro celly finished instrument and use (dubious) pics.
    but taking a wider view I can live with that and would prefer to worry about other things ...like amalgam tooth fillings. Que BP.
    ... ... but thanks for the heads up. I can live with the risks you have stated.
    Black Cherry Burst Albert Lee , SSS,Trem & Piezo 2005
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  8. #8

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    oh yeah ... I forgot to add, I'm two years away from 60 and "Still Rockin'"

  9. #9

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    Oh boy...

    I live in California and can buy the Birchwood Casey wax any day of the week i want...

    I played a Taylor guitar and the finish they used i was actually allergic to and would break out if i played it... so i simply didn't buy one.

    I think there are greater things in life to worry about... playing guitar makes me happy... and if doing so makes me dilusional to my health... then so be it... It won't detur me from having some fun in the world...
    Enjoy the Journey - Enjoy the Process
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by peterd79 View Post
    Oh boy...

    I live in California and can buy the Birchwood Casey wax any day of the week i want...

    I played a Taylor guitar and the finish they used i was actually allergic to and would break out if i played it... so i simply didn't buy one.

    I think there are greater things in life to worry about... playing guitar makes me happy... and if doing so makes me dilusional to my health... then so be it... It won't detur me from having some fun in the world...
    +1 I agree. Off to bed now!!!

  11. #11

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    It's important to put things in their correct perspective, which warning labels never give. Toxicity depends on many factors, aside from the innate toxicity itself. Dosage is one. Path of entry to the body is another. Some substances are very dangerous if inhaled, not so dangerous if swallowed, or vice versa. Many don't cross through the skin. Warning labels don't tell us these things and it can seem like everything is equally dangerous, which is not the case at all.

    Some of these substances are labelled as dangerous because lab rats developed cancer after being injected with large amounts of the stuff. That does not mean that everyday use without injecting, imbibing, or inhaling the stuff poses any threat to humans. But it may still get a warning label. Some potential toxins are perfectly safe below a certain threshold dose, meaning that many small doses don't add up to one dangerous dose. But it could still get a warning label. And our legal industries take some of the blame here too. Everything gets labelled to avoid potential lawsuits from not labelling. "You can't say we didn't tell you!" And don't put your cat in a microwave oven, or any other animal, in any other type of oven.

    And some of the biggest dangers to our health are far more present and even urgent, yet we take them for granted and even willingly ignore them - tobacco, nicotine, alcohol, living in an urban environment breathing pollution, obesity, unsafe sexual practices etc. These are our biggest killers, and by a very, VERY big margin. The irony is that the products we see that get warning labels don't come close to killing as many of us as these everyday things do.

    See my name there, Dr Kev? That "Dr" was once a PhD in Physics with a lot of time under my belt in chemistry and physics labs and engineering workshops exposed to all kinds of dangerous chemicals, radiation sources, high-powered lasers, and high voltages. Safety is hugely important and I've had to take chemical safety courses, electrical safety courses, fire fighting courses, and even taught laser safety at one point. So, looking at things from the perspective of all that knowledge that most of you don't have (because you simply don't have the particular professional training) I hope you believe me when I tell you this...

    With normal use, following directions and safety instructions, I do not have any concerns what so ever about the materials that we use when playing, maintaining, or building, our guitars. You don't have to either.

    Sleep tight y'all.
    Forum Moderator, Guitar Teacher and Guitar Tech, Folder of Underpants, Stubber of Toes.
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  12. #12

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    Since we are on the subject, what does EBMM clear coat their guitars with?
    SM-Y2D Purple Sunset
    dob:12/29/11

    EBMM Sterling 4 string - Carbon Blue Pearl
    dob:04/07/05

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by JDguitar View Post
    Since we are on the subject, what does EBMM clear coat their guitars with?
    Same thing they use for the color coat....urathane.

    Guys.....if you have such an aversion to paint, stay away from your car as that has way more paint on it and it's the same stuff.
    7/29/04 EBMM Sub1 X11376 oil/wax neck, gloss black body, faux binding, HSS w/5 way and silent circuit
    keep in mind that you are talking about four pieces of wood two pots one switch a trem along with springs two pickups and some wire.....BP

  14. #14

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    Is the same as the 2k poly that we spray up here in Canada? Nasty stuff but the off gassing doesn't last long.
    SM-Y2D Purple Sunset
    dob:12/29/11

    EBMM Sterling 4 string - Carbon Blue Pearl
    dob:04/07/05

  15. #15

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    I licked my Reflex and I feel fine.
    Steve Morse Y2D NB - G71869.

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