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Are Rub ‘n Restore® products safe?

Rub ‘n Restore® products are safe for home use. While our products do contain some chemicals “suspected of causing cancer,” you’re not going to develop cancer from using Rub ‘n Restore® products once in a while. CC and Lesandre have been using these products and sanding leather nearly every day since 1987 with clean bills of health.

Read the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for our products here:

Clear Prep+Finish™

Color I (colors containing white)

Color II (colors without white)

Let’s look at the suspected cancer-causing ingredients.

  • 1,2,4-Trimethylbenzene – Often paired with gasoline, kerosene, fuel oil and products with petroleum distillates, it is also used in protective surface coatings. Our products contain less and half a percent of this ingredient. And this is probably not the first time you’ve encountered it. It’s also used in aerosol or liquid insect pest products and furniture polishes.1
  • Ethylene Glycol Monobutyl Ether – Also known as 2-butoxyethanol, this common ingredient is found in liquid soaps, sterilizing and cleaning products, and cosmetics. “It is the main ingredient of many home, commercial and industrial cleaning solutions.” You’ll be surprised to learn that “it is also approved by the US FDA [United States Food & Drug Administration] to be used as direct and indirect food additives, which include antimicrobial agents, defoamers, stabilizers, and adhesives.”2
  • Solvent Naphtha – More commonly known as mineral spirits, you may have a can of this common paint thinner in the garage.3
  • Titanium Oxide – Used as pigment for paints (like ours), “it has UV resistant properties and is therefore used to act as a UV absorber.”4 This makes it great for the marine vinyl on your boat or the leather sofa in your south-facing window, but it is also the main ingredient in sunscreens, cosmetics, and skin care products. Like our paint, it is also used in salad dressings and cake icings to enhance color.
  • Quartz (SiO2) – Also known as silica, it is the most abundant mineral in the Earth’s crust. Quartz is an ingredient in the white pigment used in many of our Colors. The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) assumes the Color will be sprayed, not sponged. Spraying silica creates a fine dust. Extended exposure to airborne silica causes progressive lung injury or silicosis.5 But you can eat it! Quartz is used as a fining agent used to bind and filter impurities in alcohol and juices.6

Our products are low VOC. More info here.

It’s likely that you have recently touched, inhaled, and eaten the aforementioned chemicals. It’s very unlikely that you would develop cancer as a result of occasionally using Rub ‘n Restore® on your furniture, car or boat interior. It’s no worse than the latex paint on your walls and is a far cry from the chromium used to tan upholstery leather, the PVC used to manufacture vinyl, and the flame retardants used on carpets and fabrics.

What can you do to minimize your exposure from the chemicals in Rub ‘n Restore®?

  1. Don’t eat it!
  2. Stick with a sponge for applying our products. If you need to spray a surface, do it outdoors or ventilate the area. If you’re particularly sensitive, wear a respirator.

Then ask yourself, what other endocrine-disrupting and cancer-causing chemicals are in our home? Things like:

  • memory foam mattresses (where you spend 6-8 hours every night)
  • non-stick cookware
  • microwave ovens, WiFi, cell phones
  • triclosan (the active ingredient in antibacterial soaps)
  • air fresheners and scented candles
  • pesticides and herbicides
  • laundry and dish detergents
  • cosmetics, sunscreens, lotions, body washes, and hair products
  • food and water packaged and stored in plastic or styrene (Styrofoam®)
  • genetically modified (GMO) and processed foods
  • even coffee which contains acrylamide and is now labeled as cancerous in California!

Your exposure to carcinogens is greater from the chemicals in your daily life than the occasional use of Rub ‘n Restore®. The vast majority of these toxic substances are unnecessary and can be easily eliminated without compromising the protection of your skin and the cleanliness of your home, laundry, baby, and body. When it comes to painting the living room or restoring your couch, you make an exception and don’t lose sleep over it. Remember, stress causes cancer too!

1 “Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in Commonly Used Products.” New York State
Department of Health, December 2007, https://www.environix.com/wp-content/uploads/VOCs-in-Commonly-Used-Products.pdf.

2 “2-Butoxyethanol.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 23 Mar. 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2-Butoxyethanol#Commercial_uses.

3 “White Spirit.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 13 Feb. 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_spirit.

4 “Titanium (IV) Oxide.” Allergic Contact Dermatitis Database, Contact Dermatitis Institute, http://www.contactdermatitisinstitute.com/titanium-iv-oxide.php.

5 “Silicon Dioxide.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Compound
Database, U.S. National Library of Medicine, http://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Silica#section=Top.

6 “What Products Contain Silicon Dioxide?” Reference, IAC Publishing, http://www.reference.com/health/products-contain-silicon-dioxide-35e27a2e93b125cc.

7 “Propylene Glycol.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 9 Mar. 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Propylene_glycol#Applications.

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The Knowledge Hub is a library of articles and videos complied to help our customers complete their DIY leather and vinyl restoration projects.