Food Safe Glue

My next glue purchase is going to be a gallon of Ecopoxy.

I have been looking for a waterproof, food safe glue for quite a while.    A lot of people advertise that their products are made with food safe glue, and a lot of people say that this or that glue is food safe, but when you research the final results, they don’t pan out.    Some will talk about the safety of the product, but their web sites and literature don’t make the same claims.     Just because a salesman has made  a claim, and people believed  it and repeated  it, does not make it true.   The only conclusive evidence of  food safe glue, that I have found up until now is Tightbond III.  It is rated for indirect contact with food.  As a result a lot of people prefer it for making cutting boards.

Ecopoxy is currently not being marketed as a glue, but I think this will be just the thing.   I have not tested it as a glue, but from the specs, it looks like it will be ideal.  No glue is perfect, but this looks like a dream glue.

It has an unlimited shelf life.  (heat may damage the resin)   This by itself is amazing.  An unlimited shelf  life means you don’t have to replace it every year.  You don’t have to worry that the glue you bought may already be three months old and only half as strong as it was.  This is a big advantage.   This puts it in the category with hide glue for longevity.

Probably using Knox Gelatin as hide glue is the safest glue you can get, but apart from peanut allergies possibly causing a problem while the glue is curing, or the BPA issue rearing it’s ugly head, this is as safe as any glue I have seen.  It is rated for holding potable water, so food contact is not an issue.   From the specifications I have read, I would trust this more than the plastic bottles or metal cans we drink from regularly.   The metal cans are usually lined with this sort of epoxy anyway, and this looks to be the best of them.

The other advantages are reduced odor, VOC and environmental  issues.   Gluing up a boat in your garage would be quite a bit safer with this epoxy.  This is made from soybeans, beans and peanuts, so the carbon footprint is much lower than most glues.    The one downside is the curing time.  It is typical for a glue to be fully set either overnight or a full day later.  This will reach full strength in three to five days so for a rush job or impatient craftsman, this will not be ideal.    A lot of the toxicity of finishes and glues comes from the materials used to speed the setting time, so I am not about to complain about the speed.  I would much rather have safe materials.

Here are a few thoughts on usage.  Cutting blocks come to mind immediately, but this product may allow for some really neat things to be made.  Imagine  taking 6 board feet of oak, and making a stackable one foot oak cube that holds  five and a half gallons for brewing wine in.    Or imagine gluing together three sections like the picture below and making a wooden flask.  It would look really nice with a square cork.  There is no reason at all that this flask is not triangular or round or whatever.

Flask of Wood

One neat application they list is using it with sand to make a non slip surface.   A food safe, marine grade epoxy that is tough enough to use to as a floor coating sounds pretty wonderful to me.  I want to make a cedar hot tub with it to put next to a small cedar swimming pool.  Put that on a cedar deck, with a non-slip walking path and you have a pretty wonderful back yard.   If you masked off a pathway, you could make a neat non slip path.   This path could be intact or done as if stepping stones.    I am sure you could do this with a lot of other epoxies, but I would feel much better soaking in a hot tub that was food safe!

I cannot give any advice based on personal use yet, but as soon as I can I will do an update on this.  I have enough of a sample to do some quick testing, so I will be reporting on this as I go.     In any case, this epoxy looks like a game changer.

Bob

28 comments to Food Safe Glue

  • Skip J.

    Good to see you have another research thread going… Looks like you have thought this one out to the very end. Needless to say, I’m gonna want to siphon off a 1/2 pint of your gallon to try when the time comes! So far, you have steered me to loose diamonds (cheap, high quality sharpening) and food safe wax mixes for handtool handles.

    I don’t do chopping boards or hot tubs, so this topic wasn’t on my radar. Still a slow setting glue is more my speed anyway. I use hide glue more than Titebond for that reason and reversibility.

    I do look for marine grade glues and have done well lately with resourcinol (sp?) Weldwood on my outside cedar shelfboard splits…… Shelf life and slow setting sounds like real advantages…

    Merry Christmas!!!

    Skip

  • Resorcinol glue, http://www.dap.com/product_details.aspx?BrandID=64&SubcatID=10 , is wonderful stuff, I trust it to do a great job of gluing. This stuff looks like it will be safer to use, better for the environment and create a safer end product.

    Bob

  • nice post. this sounds very interesting- I use Tried and True as a finish exclusively as it’s food safe as well- the thought of a eco-epoxy is exciting. I’m curious to see how it turns out. Nice design ideas too- I love the wine idea !
    cheers!

  • Hi Bob, good to see you at it again.

    On the non slip surface, I have heard that crushed walnut shells are surprisingly good when mixed with a surface coating like paint or sealer.

    Yes, the nut allergy might be a problem, but it does make me wonder whether there might be something else out there equally natural that might also work.

    From what I understand, the walnut shells being porous absorb some of the coating and therefore bond to it a lot better than sand does so the non-slip lasts longer too.

    Worth a look?

    Stu.

  • you will only have an a nut based alergic reaction to the products when its wet. when the product dries it is safe to touch, lick or eat on. although I dont’ recommend you eat the product .. LOL….

    Thank you all for your interest in making our industries “Greener”

  • Bob Strawn

    I have done a touch of gluing with the Ecopoxy and so far I like it. I need to abuse and use the results a bit more. I plan to use some walnut shells and some granite sand to test for a traction surface.

    Bob

  • Skip J.

    Good to see the Ecopoxy folks in here too….. well done Bob!

  • Bob Strawn

    It will take a while for this to really snowball, but I think it will. It takes a certain amount of time before an adhesive can be shown to be reliable. However the chemistry is sound and straightforward, and the key advantages are fairly huge.

    Unlimited shelf life means lowered waste and eliminates those product failures caused by old adhesives. Controlling toxicity means controlling liability for your products.
    Eliminating off odors improves perceived quality.
    A wide range of acceptable blend ratios means inaccurate mixing is less likely to cause issues.
    Chemistry that reduces VOC’s when applying means better work safety and worker health.

    All of these thing can seriously improve the bottom line of a business. It is pretty nice to be able to advertise that the glues used are food safe, from renewable resources and marine grade.

    I am just not seeing the downside here.

    Bob

  • Skip J.

    “Unlimited shelf life means lowered waste and eliminates those product failures caused by old adhesives. Controlling toxicity means controlling liability for your products.
    Eliminating off odors improves perceived quality.
    A wide range of acceptable blend ratios means inaccurate mixing is less likely to cause issues.Chemistry that reduces VOC’s when applying means better work safety and worker health.All of these thing can seriously improve the bottom line of a business. It is pretty nice to be able to advertise that the glues used are food safe, from renewable resources and marine grade.I am just not seeing the downside here.Bob”

    Well I did switch to shellac flakes for unlimited shelflife a few years ago, and have been a happy camper since. In glues, considering possible failed joints, this would be a biggie too. I will say that while I have had good experience with resorcinol, it is picky about mixing, and it does have a shelflife. The idea of using an epoxy for less than marine grade applications is different tho, I’ll think about that.

    Skip

  • Pam Lewry

    I have just received my first gallon of ecopoxy & hardener. I ordered it to use as a layering & embedding epoxy for art projects. I haven’t tried it yet, but hope it works as good as it sounds.

    Pam

  • Bob Strawn

    I have been coming up with the most evil tests for this epoxy, I really like to know the limits of any materials that I use. I will post some of the worst tests that I have come up with shortly. One thing I can definitely say, ecopoxy does not stink. I am not sure that I can even smell it. Freshly mixed, it is pretty close to odorless. The wax that I am using as a resist has a much stronger scent. My wife cannot smell it either. I am used to epoxies that would drive you from the room. This is pretty extraordinary.

    Bob

  • Skip J.

    Thanks Bob; we could use that test right about now. I haven’t been out in the shop much lately, but my time’s coming up I’m sure….

    Skip

  • Hi Bob, You can try mixing the product 2:1 for a faster cure time. let me know how this works for you.

    Thanks
    John Marino

  • Bob Strawn

    Please let us know how it works for you, Pam!

    Bob

  • Jim B

    I notice on the Material Safety Data Sheets for resin and hardener that they both contain Bis-A. This is the stuff that resulted in all the hoopla and then Nalgene and other polycarbonate bottles being reformulated to another type of plastic, not containing Bis-A. Not sure I’d want to be making wood flasks or other total immersion items with it. Not saying its not a good epoxy product, just be aware.

  • Bob Strawn

    You are correct Jim. The BPA issue is a very important one. My own suspicion is that we will find just about every plastic out there is toxic, especially if we are overexposed to it. My tests have shown this to be an extremely tough, strong and durable glue, so my thought is to use this glue to seal at the outer most edge, and to use canning wax to seal the cracks all the rest of the way. I am pretty sure, even with this protection that some BPA could still make contact unless one was quite careful, but I suspect much, much less than would be in a standard beer can. Wax has been an effective seal for canning, so if properly managed, this might be an ideal method.

    while I am convinced now that this is hands down the safest waterproof glue available, I do wish that there were better.

    Sadly apart from oak, glass and ceramics, it is hard to find a material this is really safe for large levels of exposure. Some of the prettiest glass and ceramics out there is also fairly suspect. Stainless steel may even have issues.

    My suspicion would be that if we had a serious drive to make some safe plastic formula, and tested them independently and widely, we might find several reasonably safe recipes. Then if we used all of the reasonably safe recipes and stainless, glass and whatever, that we could avoid over exposure to a single toxin.

    While the data on BPA is very frightening, the data on all of the other adhesives that I have seen people use for cutting boards and even drinking vessels is far worse. My own plan would be to avoid it where possible and reduce it otherwise. what really scares me is the possibility that in our rush to avoid BPA, we are likely to go to something worse.

    High Fructose Corn Syrup was the answer to the over use of cane sugar. Now it is looking like cane sugar would have been much safer. Some are looking at agave as a solution, however it is probably an even more dangerous sweetener.

    It is also possible that the animal testing of BPA will not be matched on humans. The carcinogens in grilled meat, have turned out to be fairly benign on humans, despite the horrible effects on test animals. Apparently, being descended from folk that have been eating burnt meat for quite a few generations, has given us a nice resistance to the horrible chemicals created by burning meat.

    The potential long term effects of an apparently cumulative poison like BPA are pretty scary. But from my looking at the chemistry of some of the bottles that are being claimed to be safer, I wonder seriously if that is true. Truth is, we probably need to go back to using glass for sealing foods. But then, what are we going to use to seal the glass. I am no so sure the rubber seals are that great. I did not mind the little waxed paper seal on milk bottles that we had when I was a child. Maybe that is the way to go.

    These days it is hard to say that anything is safe. Every year, near the end of summer, all of my bees die. I have no idea who it is upwind that sprays the toxins that take out my bees. I figured it was a cotton farmer or someone treating pasture for fire ants every year. As residences have been springing up all around me, there are now more and more people that are unaware that the area they live in is regularly being dosed with toxins.

    So while do think there is great virtue in people using this epoxy over other adhesives, I wish we had a few more options available. One of the very real problems about wanting something to be safe, is that the testing is quite expensive and is fairly high risk. You put a lot of money into proving that your invention is no good. This is the sort of research that the private sector is really not good at.

    Sadly, since our current political and scientific climate do not encourage pure research without connections to industry, other countries are likely to have a serious head start on us. It is even possible that wealthy chemical industries might seriously want to squash such research as it might impact their bottom line. At one time we were highly regulated in our food and drug industries. As a result the world considered our goods to be the gold standard. This was very good for our industries and political relations. Since then our standards have fallen quite a bit, and we no longer have the high ground on food quality or on medical integrity.

    The worst part of all of this, is that if the animal tests on BPA are a good indicator of the effects that this chemical has on humans, then it might well engender a society that is less likely to chose to correct such problems.

    Bob

  • Tracey

    Hello,
    I read your posts on Ecopoxy with interest, as I was looking for a non-toxic way to seal a crack in a birdbath. I did not want to poison the birds. Any thoughts?
    Thanks.
    P.S. It is nice to know there are others concerned with the environment.

  • Bob Strawn

    I would use the Ecopoxy to try and seal it, but try to reduce how much of it exposed to the surface. In any case, the Ecopoxy is bound to be better than the chemicals they are exposed to in the gutters and streets where they bathe.

    Bob

  • jacques van breda

    Hi. can anyone assist me with a type of glue to seal peanut trays.my thought would be to seal the edges of the tray and then applying a thin shrink wrap type film onto it.What type of glue (food grade) would do the job.any help,comments would be highly appreciated.

    Thank you.

  • Tom

    (edited)
    What is the temperature rating for this product? Does it breakdown when exposed to heat as most epoxies do?

    I’d like to seal glass to copper or stainless steel in an application exposed to boiling water temperatures.

    Distillery application.

  • Bob Strawn

    I would go with a gasket for that sort of application.

    Bob

  • Cindy

    Hi,
    Could you please tell me if this would work as a sealant on wine glasses, and make them safe to drink out of, as I am putting glitter not them.

    Many thanks

  • uclalum

    Hi Bob,

    Thank you for the useful thread. I have what I believe to a BPA-free polycarbonate carafe that has a hairline crack about 1/3 the way down from the top. Whenever I make juice, tea, etc., I get a small dribble leaking as I pour it. Do you think the Ecopoxy would be good fore making a seal on these? It would likely be done on the outside of the container. I’d appreciate your thoughts and recommendations.

  • Bob Strawn

    Ecopoxy is pure BPA. Sadly it may be the safest glue for the job. I suggest that you recycle the carafe if you want to avoid BPA.

    Bob

  • Bob Strawn

    For wine glasses I advise lead free glass. Nothing else will do really.

    Bob

  • Bob Strawn

    I have no good ideas for this one.

    Bob

  • SUz

    I,m looking for Matine Safe glue used on inside I of hummingbird feeders to GLUE NETTING INSIDE Feeders to deter.. All pests. Any ideas. 2 months ago I sa DIY. Using Marine glue safe for envirament & Hummingbirds.
    Anyone ideas. Please

  • Bob Strawn

    The first thing I would try would be shellac. I would not trust it unless you mix it up yourself however. It normally has a limited shelf life once it is mixed, so the purchased ready product is likely to have a few surprises as ingredients.

    Bob

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