I have a bit of an issue here, and was hoping for some insightful advice.
Thursday afternoon I assembled a workstand using 80/20 anodized aluminum extrusions. 80/20 extrusions normally come with some metal swarf and sharp chips from when they were cut down to size, which I typically carefully remove by tapping the extrusions into the box they arrive in. The large chips fell out of the crevices and all seemed to be well.
Well, Thursday night I was sitting on the couch and felt an invisible splinter in my right thumb. I moved to the light to take a closer look, thinking it was a small sliver of aluminum.
What I found was that I have very many tiny dust-sized aluminum chips embedded in all of the fingertips of both my hands, and some in my palms as well.
When I hold a flashlight up to my fingers it looks like I stuck my hand into some fine silver glitter.
The swarf is dust-sized and is too miniscule to mechanically remove from my skin. Except for the invisible splinter in my thumb, I don’t feel any of the sharp embedded swarf/slivers, but I can see them as the small facets reflect light.
I wore gloves for most of the project, but did not for final assembly. I suppose my warm sweaty hands probably made my skin more welcoming for the aluminum.
I am fairly sure these particles are aluminum, as I didn’t handle any cut steel products for a long time. The aluminum dust matches what can be rubbed off 80/20 products.
I spoke with my cousin, who is a PA, and she recommended warm water soaks. She also said that there really isn’t anything else that could be done at a doctor’s office.
I have tried multiple hand washes, tape, Elmer’s glue, and warm water soaks, but 4 days later my fingertips are still glittery from the 80/20 components. I am reluctant to try a scrub brush, as this might drive the slivers even deeper into the skin.
Tape helped at first, and I can see metal flakes in the glass bowl after each warm water soak, but the darned aluminum slivers are still there.
When I say small, I mean immeasurably small. I can only see them in direct lighting, as light bounces off the reflective flat-ish silvery surfaces.
I figure that my body will encapsulate and eventually eject the slivers over time, but until that happens my concern is that I might transfer the small sharp dust to my food, my face, my eyes, or my wife.
Larger slivers and splinters I can deal with, but these ultra-fine micro swarf slivers are driving me crazy. I don’t feel them, but knowing that they’re there makes me reluctant to touch my face and rub my eyes.
What do you guys recommended for removal of the ultra-fine aluminum swarf?
Disclaimer: None of this should be considered as professional medical advice. For proper medical advice concerning metal swarf or debris embedded in your skin, consult with your doctor or another medical professional.