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Thread: Is Carnauba wax toxic? (MSDS sheet)

  1. #1
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    Default Is Carnauba wax toxic? (MSDS sheet)

    click:

    http://209.85.173.132/search?q=cache...&ct=clnk&gl=us

    According to this MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet), Carnauba wax IS toxic. (See section 3 )

    This did surprise me somewhat, because I believe there are some turners that add a coating of Carnauba to turned items that are intended for food use.

    I would assume large quantities of Carnauba ingested by rats are probably the basis for the determination. Regardless, it doesn't look like it would be something woodturners should use on items that come in contact with food.

    Comments?

    OOC
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  2. #2
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    Odie:

    I suppose carnauba wax is as toxic as beeswax, sawdust, styrofoam pellets, or sand if one were to eat or inhale large quantities of it. Or anything insoluble in water for that matter.

    Carnauba wax is used in shoe and car polishes, which no one would want to ingest, more for what's mixed with the wax, than for the wax itself.

    Please note that carnauba wax is used as a coating for various caplets and pills in pharmaceutical processing, so in small quantities, purified wax is food safe. Similarly, carnauba wax is one of the natural waxes used in various lipstick and other cosmetic products, as a lubricant on dental floss, coatings for "shiny" candies, and other food applications.

    Unless people are intending to ingest or inhale quantities of the wax, it can be considered 'contact food safe' - perhaps even more food safe than beeswax if people have allergies to proteins found in pollen which are transferred to the wax by the bees. Carnauba is obtained from the leaves of a tropical palm species. Click HERE for more information.

    This is an example where the classifications and categories of an MSDS sheet, while probably technically correct, are in fact misleading about the realities of the material being described. Knowledge about the plant and its products is useful - that's what I keep telling my economic botany students each spring semester for the past 15 years!

    Yes, purified carnauba wax is food safe...

    Rob Wallace
    Rob Wallace

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  3. #3
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    Thanks Rob......

    Your comment is exactly the kind I was hoping to induce. I've been looking at ingredients of waxes, and have found some that list Carnabua, and also claim "food safe".

    I had asked about how safe Carnauba is before, but recieved no response.

    ooc
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  4. #4
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    Default LD50 in MSDS can be mis-leading

    LD50 is science's expression for a dosage amount that will kill 50% of those who are dosed. These are sometimes listed in MSDSs. The LD50 for a 150 pound human for sodium chloride, good ole table salt, is .45 pound. Of course, you would very likely throw-up and save yourself before you got a lethal dose! That Morton salt box by your stove is a lethal weapon. If you were kidnapped and forced you could DIE. Shellac, which is collected BUG poop, is used to coat pills and candies. That nice shinny, slick coating on my vitamins does resemble my new table top.

  5. #5

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    http://www.vngas.com/pdf/g1.pdf

    One I see all the time.
    Stand clear, rest near, and cut the wood as it wishes to be cut.

  6. #6
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    I like that the WIKI article talks about Carnauba as an ingredient in Tic Tacs and Altoids.

  7. #7
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    Default Source and Use of Carnauba

    Quote Originally Posted by odie View Post
    click:

    http://209.85.173.132/search?q=cache...&ct=clnk&gl=us

    According to this MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet), Carnauba wax IS toxic. (See section 3 )
    The source of this MSDS sheet is a laboratory supply outlet that sells chemicals. If you read the catalog page, they sell 500g of these flakes for 86 bucks. Craft Supply sells a bar of carnauba wax for 6 and half bucks.

    The information on an MSDS sheet will vary with the manufacturer. If your turning shop employed enough people to be covered by the MSDS requirement, you would have to get an MSDS sheet covering that carnauba bar, not another carnauba product. To me this is Apples and Oranges.

    John
    St Nick AAW #27211
    South Kansas WoodTurners

  8. #8

    Default Carnauba Wax is food safe

    I keep hoping the carnuaba wax noise will go away but i doesn't. I'm a Professor of Biochemistry and a specialist in Toxicology and Pharmacology. Carnauba wax is in the covering of M&M's and hundreds of pills. Waxes are inert by nature. It melts way above body temperature and we can't digest it. The MSDS posted was from a lab supply company that sells stuff to kids and calls everything hazardous to protect their butts. The MSDS I appended is more reasonable. Basically, melted wax can burn your skin.

    What constitutes food safe is always an issue. People use Renaissance wax on food service items and the solvents in that can be detected for months after application. Shellac, on the other hand, is solvent free in a few hours. Ethanol and the denaturing agent methyethyl ketone are extremely volatile. To me, shellac is food safe.

    Some say tomato... some say tomato.

    The MSDS for oxygen linked in another posting seems humorous but, in fact, oxygen in pure form is extremely dangerous. And, in any establishment, a single MSDS for each material used is all that's necessary, not for each sample of that material, even if that material is in a combined form.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mereditm View Post
    I keep hoping the carnuaba wax noise will go away but i doesn't. I'm a Professor of Biochemistry and a specialist in Toxicology and Pharmacology. Carnauba wax is in the covering of M&M's and hundreds of pills. Waxes are inert by nature. It melts way above body temperature and we can't digest it. The MSDS posted was from a lab supply company that sells stuff to kids and calls everything hazardous to protect their butts. The MSDS I appended is more reasonable. Basically, melted wax can burn your skin.

    What constitutes food safe is always an issue. People use Renaissance wax on food service items and the solvents in that can be detected for months after application. Shellac, on the other hand, is solvent free in a few hours. Ethanol and the denaturing agent methyethyl ketone are extremely volatile. To me, shellac is food safe.

    Some say tomato... some say tomato.

    The MSDS for oxygen linked in another posting seems humorous but, in fact, oxygen in pure form is extremely dangerous. And, in any establishment, a single MSDS for each material used is all that's necessary, not for each sample of that material, even if that material is in a combined form.
    I always thought M&Ms were coated with shellac. Is that old data? Were M&Ms ever coated with shellac?

  10. #10

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    ^ I think you are correct. I believe they also use carnuaba wax as the final layer on jelly beans. From what I understand it is a natural product that is non-toxic...but I guess it depends on how much you want to ingest.

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