Is Hot Melt Glue Toxic or Hazerdous? | Glue Guns Direct

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Is Hot Melt Glue Toxic or Hazardous?

When used correctly, hot melt glue and glue sticks aren’t toxic, and they shouldn’t release toxic fumes.

There’s no clear evidence that hot glue releases toxic fumes if used at the recommended temperatures. Equally there’s no clear data around the safe concentration or exposure limits of hot glue fumes.

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Is hot glue dangerous to use?

All hot melt glues release fumes to some extent. They’re very rarely toxic, but can be irritating – especially to anyone with existing respiratory problems. Like most organic fumes, hot glue fumes could ignite under certain conditions.

Describing the properties of specific hot melt fumes is difficult. Fumes are dependent on:

  • The glue formula
  • The glues temperature
  • The previous heat history of the glue
  • The quantity of glue being used

We promote the policy of the Health & Safety Executive. Exposure should be kept as low as reasonably practical, even if there are no known toxic effects. You should always use hot glue at the recommended operating temperature, in a well-ventilated area.

Can overheating cause toxic glue fumes?

Hot glue fumes can become toxic if they’re overheated. Overheating, by at least 30°C-40°C, could cause chemical breakdown in the adhesive, causing organic material would be released – which may be toxic. Any toxic fumes are likely to be in low concentration, and unlikely to cause any serious harm. Nevertheless, overheating should always be avoided.

Many glue guns have thermostatically-controlled heaters to maintain a pre-set operating temperature. Turn the gun off if it won’t be used for 40 minutes – this can prevent overheating.

Safety precautions

Hot glue shouldn’t be toxic or pose any health risk – when used correctly. You should only use equipment as recommended by the manufacturer. Read the health and safety data sheet (MSDS) before use. You should always:

  • Work in a well-ventilated area
  • Make sure the glue gun is working correctly before use
  • Run at the recommended operating temperature
  • Turn the gun off if it won’t be used for 40 minutes

Read here for more safety and operating information. If you want further advice or have any more questions, get in touch with the team on 0161 627 1001.

Here are some more customer FAQs: 

Q: What are the signs of overheating in hot melt glue?

A: Signs include changes in the glue’s colour or consistency, an acrid smell, or the glue gun becoming excessively hot.

Q: Can specific types of hot melt glues have different health implications?

A: Yes, different formulations may vary in fume release and potential health impacts. Consult the manufacturer’s safety data sheets for guidance.

Q: How should one dispose of unused hot melt glue sticks?

A: Allow unused sticks to cool and solidify before disposal. Check with local waste management services for specific guidance.



The information contained on this data sheet is for guidance only. It is the result of careful laboratory evaluations by trained and qualified staff using British Standard or similar test methods. However, no warranty is expressed or implied regarding the accuracy of the data or the suitability of the adhesive for any specific purpose.

In every case, we strongly recommend that the user shall make their own test to determine to their own satisfaction the suitability of the adhesive for their particular purpose. Neither seller nor manufacturer shall be liable for any injury, loss, damage, direct or consequential arising out of use, or inability to use the product.

Further information is always available to help solve your adhesive problems.

Posted in: Glue Stick Advice
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