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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’ve been a member for a while but haven’t posted before so….hello J

I recently had a custom background fitted into a brand new vivarium for my bearded dragon at a local pet shop. The background is made from fibreglass and I was assured by the shop that it is totally safe. When the completed vivarium was returned to me I wasn’t totally happy with the finished look as it wasn’t anything like the pictures that I had shown to them with my ideas. However my issue isn’t with the finished look but with the safety of the materials used due to the very strong fumes coming from it. The shop advised me to keep the heat lamp on to speed up the 'curing' process and told me not to put my beardie in for a week.They assured me that the smell/fumes would be gone by then but it’s not over two weeks later and the smell is still as strong as ever and even more so when the heat lamp is on.
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I've tried on number of occasions to get advice from the shop regarding the strong smell and my concerns over the safety of the materials and the details of specific resin used and they are totally ignoring my emails, calls, texts.
I have also noticed on my last visit that they don’t have any custom backgrounds in any of their reptile enclosures in the shop which also concerns me.

Obviously I haven’t put Stanley, my son’s bearded dragon, in the vivarium and he is being kept in my old vivarium on the floor of the conservatory (not ideal) even though I've spent over £300 on the new set up which is now sitting empty in my son's bedroom. My husband incorporated the new viv & cabinet set up into the fitted wardrobes so I’m really stuck as it’s not as simple as moving it and putting the old viv back in its place. My husband has now taken a job overseas so isn’t here to deal with furniture upheavals etc. and my son has Asperger’s syndrome and is now getting quite anxious that he can’t have his pet in his room with him.


So my question is really about the fibreglass safety and whether anyone knows if there is some kind of non-toxic sealant that would be safe to use that could coat the background and possibly stop the fumes.Otherwise I will have to rip the whole thing out as I will not risk the health of my pet.I’d be really grateful for any advice.
Thanks in advance.


 

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I’ve been a member for a while but haven’t posted before so….hello J

I recently had a custom background fitted into a brand new vivarium for my bearded dragon at a local pet shop. The background is made from fibreglass and I was assured by the shop that it is totally safe. When the completed vivarium was returned to me I wasn’t totally happy with the finished look as it wasn’t anything like the pictures that I had shown to them with my ideas. However my issue isn’t with the finished look but with the safety of the materials used due to the very strong fumes coming from it. The shop advised me to keep the heat lamp on to speed up the 'curing' process and told me not to put my beardie in for a week.They assured me that the smell/fumes would be gone by then but it’s not over two weeks later and the smell is still as strong as ever and even more so when the heat lamp is on.
.

I've tried on number of occasions to get advice from the shop regarding the strong smell and my concerns over the safety of the materials and the details of specific resin used and they are totally ignoring my emails, calls, texts.
I have also noticed on my last visit that they don’t have any custom backgrounds in any of their reptile enclosures in the shop which also concerns me.

Obviously I haven’t put Stanley, my son’s bearded dragon, in the vivarium and he is being kept in my old vivarium on the floor of the conservatory (not ideal) even though I've spent over £300 on the new set up which is now sitting empty in my son's bedroom. My husband incorporated the new viv & cabinet set up into the fitted wardrobes so I’m really stuck as it’s not as simple as moving it and putting the old viv back in its place. My husband has now taken a job overseas so isn’t here to deal with furniture upheavals etc. and my son has Asperger’s syndrome and is now getting quite anxious that he can’t have his pet in his room with him.


So my question is really about the fibreglass safety and whether anyone knows if there is some kind of non-toxic sealant that would be safe to use that could coat the background and possibly stop the fumes.Otherwise I will have to rip the whole thing out as I will not risk the health of my pet.I’d be really grateful for any advice.
Thanks in advance.


[URL="http://i372.photobucket.com/albums/oo163/janolt/vivarium2.png"]image[/URL]

there's no real advice on how safe it is, which can be offered without knowing exactly what resin they used unfortunately

given that it was designed for reptiles, I would assume, that whover made it, did the necessary checks to ensure it would be safe....then again, assumptions arnt exactly the best way to go
 

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If you have a weekend spare, then I'd suggest getting several tubes of Clear curing Aquarium Safe Silicone HA6, cover the entire background with a layer of it (messy messy job!!), then seal up all the edges, and leave to cure for 48hrs

that way at least if they did not use a safe resin, the fumes wont leak into the enclosure


perhaps add extra ventilation to the back and top of the enclosure, behind the fibreglass background aswell, so that any fumes can escape out the back, rather than build up and work into the main enclosure)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
If you have a weekend spare, then I'd suggest getting several tubes of Clear curing Aquarium Safe Silicone HA6, cover the entire background with a layer of it (messy messy job!!), then seal up all the edges, and leave to cure for 48hrs

that way at least if they did not use a safe resin, the fumes wont leak into the enclosure


perhaps add extra ventilation to the back and top of the enclosure, behind the fibreglass background aswell, so that any fumes can escape out the back, rather than build up and work into the main enclosure)
That's really helpful, thank you. I have next week off work so will give that a try. Even if the resin they used is safe at least it will reduce the fumes and I'll feel happier about the whole thing! Thanks again. :2thumb:
 

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I really would give this some thought - if you cover the background with silicone and anything else goes wrong with viv or your beardie does have some kind of negative reaction, you will have no recourse in law.

I think I would simply ask for my money back and for the background to be removed and returned to the shop
 
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yeah tbh if they will replace or refund for the background, that's the best option...could well be that they recalled them

that said - if the product is dangerous, using silicone to try and prevent dangerous fumes would not change the fact that it is dangerous, you would still have a case should something go wrong and its the fault of the manufacturer - applying aquarium safe silicone doesn't change that
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I really would give this some thought - if you cover the background with silicone and anything else goes wrong with viv or your beardie does have some kind of negative reaction, you will have no recourse in law.

I think I would simply ask for my money back and for the background to be removed and returned to the shop
I've tried calling, texting and emailing the shop without success - they're not replying to me. I think they have blocked my number, the guy who made the background told me in text that I was a 'hindrance' - I'm afraid to go into the shop on my own to confront them as they always seem to have loads of staff in there. So it's very doubtful they'd give me a refund and the fibreglass is so rock solid I think it's going to damage the viv to try to remove it.

Think I might have to take it to Trading Standards but not sure they'll be able to do anything.
 

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Trading standards are pretty ineffective - does your son have a key worker or advocate who could go with you and or your son. The other possibility would be to talk to environmental health and ask if they have an air monitor that could measure the chemicals in the fumes - if it is giving of fumes that are dangerous - they are dangerous r for you and your son as well.
 

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I've tried calling, texting and emailing the shop without success - they're not replying to me. I think they have blocked my number, the guy who made the background told me in text that I was a 'hindrance' - I'm afraid to go into the shop on my own to confront them as they always seem to have loads of staff in there. So it's very doubtful they'd give me a refund and the fibreglass is so rock solid I think it's going to damage the viv to try to remove it.

Think I might have to take it to Trading Standards but not sure they'll be able to do anything.
trading standards is a good option, had issues before that have been resolved taking this route - The Sales of Goods and Services Act states that something must be "fit for purpose", that is your statutory right, regardless of what the shop owner may think - any reptile product giving off fumes, is not fit for purpose.

local environmental health is also worth contacting
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
trading standards is a good option, had issues before that have been resolved taking this route - The Sales of Goods and Services Act states that something must be "fit for purpose", that is your statutory right, regardless of what the shop owner may think - any reptile product giving off fumes, is not fit for purpose.

local environmental health is also worth contacting
I've contacted my local Trading Standards and submitted the relevant complaints form so will see what they have to say. Thank you for your help.
 

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I work with fibreglass resins in my work, they are not safe for use in vivariums, the strong smell is styrene along with other chemicals which are toxic. I would remove the background if you can and save what you can of the vivarium. It was irresponsible for them to sell it to you. Can you tell us which shop it was?
 

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some fibre glass resins have been used safley in large vivs for years (for eg 3M fibre glass resin in monitor enclosures, hasnt presented any problems for monitors after a decade+ in the enclosure)...but it all depends on how it is used, and how much time it is given to cure and out-gas properly


but, fibreglass itself is another matter altogether - the monitor enclosures i'm referring to contained no fibreglass, they where simply sealed up with the resin designed for fibreglass...no idea about fibreglass itself
 

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Curing Fibre glass fumes are very poisonous so you are right to be concerned, however Can I just bring up a little fact that no one else has jumped on yet. The fumes are so bad that your worried about your beardys health so he's on the floor in the conservatory and the smelly,fumey and bad for Your health viv is in your sons room. What about your sons health breathing them in while snoring away at night? :lol2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Curing Fibre glass fumes are very poisonous so you are right to be concerned, however Can I just bring up a little fact that no one else has jumped on yet. The fumes are so bad that your worried about your beardys health so he's on the floor in the conservatory and the smelly,fumey and bad for Your health viv is in your sons room. What about your sons health breathing them in while snoring away at night? :lol2:
The Vivarium glass is closed so the fumes aren't escaping and also I am no longer putting the heat lamp on which is what causes the fumes. The shop told me that heat would 'cure' the fibreglass and it would be cured after 4-5 days then there woukdn't be a smell. I left it on for 3 weeks permanently but as soon as the heat is off then turned on again the smell/fumes return. My son was in our spare room but it's wasn't ideal so now he's back in his room but no fumes as heat lamp not being used!

The shop are still assuring me that it's 100% safe, I'm not taking any chances.
 

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The Vivarium glass is closed so the fumes aren't escaping and also I am no longer putting the heat lamp on which is what causes the fumes. The shop told me that heat would 'cure' the fibreglass and it would be cured after 4-5 days then there woukdn't be a smell. I left it on for 3 weeks permanently but as soon as the heat is off then turned on again the heat returns. My son was in our spare room but it's wasn't ideal so now he's back in his room but no fumes as heat lamp not being used!

The shop are still assuring me that it's 100% safe, I'm not taking any chances.
tbh High VOC sealants tend to take several weeks to out-gas, including varnishes which are very commonly used

it took my monitor enclosure ~5 weeks to stop smelling (wasnt a resin, but did have 3 other types of sealant) - i gave it 8 weeks to be safe

but, regardless, DIY enclosures are not the same as buying something ready made, it really should be safe to use as soon as you buy it imo
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I work with fibreglass resins in my work, they are not safe for use in vivariums, the strong smell is styrene along with other chemicals which are toxic. I would remove the background if you can and save what you can of the vivarium. It was irresponsible for them to sell it to you. Can you tell us which shop it was?
Yes I can tell you which shop it was, they're still fobbing me off and saying I've done something wrong and mustn't have followed their instructions and not regulated the heat properly which is very strange considering the only instructions they gave me were 'leave the heat lamp on' so I'm baffled as to how I can do that wrong?!!! They've flat refused to do anything about it apart from 'take a look at it' if I take the vivarium into the shop (which is a lot of trouble) but what is the point when they're insustent that it's 100% safe, it's obvious they're going to fob me off.

Crablet I really value your input as someone with experience of working with fibreglass and any more help/advice would be appreciated as they are telling me that I'm being given incorrect advice and that forums are full of 'self proclaimed experts'.

And I quote from their email:


"Hi Mrs Thompson

Thank you for resending the email I now know the background we are discussing

The resin used for the backgrounds is 100% safe when cured, fibreglass is not a chemical it is a sheet material and therefore cannot be toxic. Forums are self proclaimed experts and are often very opinionated so are therefore not a reliable source of information."

I've asked them to be more specific on all the materials they have used but they won't respond to my request. The shop is Pets Inn, Chorley - I tried to post a link to their website but it woukdn't work but if you do a google search their website will come up.
 

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Trading standards are pretty ineffective - does your son have a key worker or advocate who could go with you and or your son. The other possibility would be to talk to environmental health and ask if they have an air monitor that could measure the chemicals in the fumes - if it is giving of fumes that are dangerous - they are dangerous r for you and your son as well.
Curing Fibre glass fumes are very poisonous so you are right to be concerned, however Can I just bring up a little fact that no one else has jumped on yet. The fumes are so bad that your worried about your beardys health so he's on the floor in the conservatory and the smelly,fumey and bad for Your health viv is in your sons room. What about your sons health breathing them in while snoring away at night? :lol2:

Ahem :2thumb:
 
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Yes I can tell you which shop it was, they're still fobbing me off and saying I've done something wrong and mustn't have followed their instructions and not regulated the heat properly which is very strange considering the only instructions they gave me were 'leave the heat lamp on' so I'm baffled as to how I can do that wrong?!!! They've flat refused to do anything about it apart from 'take a look at it' if I take the vivarium into the shop (which is a lot of trouble) but what is the point when they're insustent that it's 100% safe, it's obvious they're going to fob me off.

Crablet I really value your input as someone with experience of working with fibreglass and any more help/advice would be appreciated as they are telling me that I'm being given incorrect advice and that forums are full of 'self proclaimed experts'.

And I quote from their email:


"Hi Mrs Thompson

Thank you for resending the email I now know the background we are discussing

The resin used for the backgrounds is 100% safe when cured, fibreglass is not a chemical it is a sheet material and therefore cannot be toxic. Forums are self proclaimed experts and are often very opinionated so are therefore not a reliable source of information."

I've asked them to be more specific on all the materials they have used but they won't respond to my request. The shop is Pets Inn, Chorley - I tried to post a link to their website but it woukdn't work but if you do a google search their website will come up.
lol forums are not a reliable source of information; unlike the manufacturer who wont respond, and the pet shop which claims something is safe without knowing what the resin actually is :whistling2:

how many people come to forums because of their sick reptiles, after following the advice of pet shops *sigh*


(fibre glass is an irritant if it comes into contact with skin, or worse, lungs...although technically it isnt "toxic", it is an Irritant substance - but if used properly, that shouldnt be an issue)
 

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The resin used for the backgrounds is 100% safe when cured, fibreglass is not a chemical it is a sheet material and therefore cannot be toxic. Forums are self proclaimed experts and are often very opinionated so are therefore not a reliable source of information."[/QUOTE]


Yes fibreglass is a sheet material (basically a woven mat of glass strands) and is 99% harmless, however when you add the resin it becomes highly toxic and produces Styrene fumes which are very poisonous, It's now been proved that prolonged exposure can cause damage to your brain stem and nervous system as well as leukemia and lymphoma. Show the people at the pet shop this hazard sheet and point out this is directly from a gov health and safety website:



SECTION 3: HAZARDS IDENTIFICATION

3.1 EMERGENCY OVERVIEW

Specific Physical Form:
Paste


Odor, Color, Grade:
Pungent organic odor. Light straw color.


General Physical Form:
Liquid


Immediate health, physical, and environmental hazards:
Flammable liquid and vapor. Closed containers exposed to heat from


fire may build pressure and explode. Vapors may travel long distances along the ground or floor to an ignition source and flash back.

Contains a chemical or chemicals which can cause cancer. May cause target organ effects.

MATERIAL SAFETY DATA SHEET 3M™Bondo(r) Fiberglass Resin for Fiberglass Resin Kit, P.N. 420, 420C, 420ES, 420T, 422, 422C

05/14/09

__________________________________________________ _______________________________________________

Page 2 of 8

3.2 POTENTIAL HEALTH EFFECTS

Eye Contact:

Moderate Eye Irritation: Signs/symptoms may include redness, swelling, pain, tearing, and blurred or hazy vision.

Skin Contact:

Moderate Skin Irritation: Signs/symptoms may include localized redness, swelling, itching, and dryness.

Inhalation:

Respiratory Tract Irritation: Signs/symptoms may include cough, sneezing, nasal discharge, headache, hoarseness, and nose and

throat pain.

May be absorbed following inhalation and cause target organ effects.

Ingestion:

Gastrointestinal Irritation: Signs/symptoms may include abdominal pain, stomach upset, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

May be absorbed following ingestion and cause target organ effects.

Target Organ Effects:

Central Nervous System (CNS) Depression: Signs/symptoms may include headache, dizziness, drowsiness, incoordination, nausea,

slowed reaction time, slurred speech, giddiness, and unconsciousness.

Auditory Effects: Signs/symptoms may include hearing impairment, balance dysfunction and ringing in the ears.

Liver Effects: Signs/symptoms may include loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue, weakness, abdominal tenderness and jaundice.

Prolonged or repeated exposure may cause:

Neurological Effects: Signs/symptoms may include personality changes, lack of coordination, sensory loss, tingling or

numbness of the extremities, weakness, tremors, and/or changes in blood pressure and heart rate.

Ocular Effects: Signs/symptoms may include blurred or significantly impaired vision.

Immunological Effects: Signs/symptoms may include alterations in the number of circulating immune cells, allergic skin and

/or respiratory reaction, and changes in immune function.

Carcinogenicity:

Contains a chemical or chemicals which can cause cancer.

MATERIAL SAFETY DATA SHEET 3M™Bondo(r) Fiberglass Resin for Fiberglass Resin Kit, P.N. 420, 420C, 420ES, 420T, 422, 422C

05/14/09

__________________________________________________ _______________________________________________

Page 3 of 8

Ingredient C.A.S. No. Class Description Regulation

STYRENE MONOMER 100-42-5 Group 2B International Agency for Research on Cancer
 

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So how come ponds that are fibre glassed & under water 24/7 dont kill all the fish?
Has the background been sealed do you know. There are several companies that make fibre glass backgrounds for reptiles & aquarium use. Possibly contact one & see what they say. Might be able to tell you what to use to seal yours if it hasn't been already.
Can you not put the viv out side to air at all?
 
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