Learning About Non-Organic Solvent Products and Their Dangers

ByTimothy Byron

A solvent can be any liquid or solid that dissolves another solute. Solution products are soluble in certain amounts and under specific temperatures. Many businesses use industrial solvent products to clean parts, machines, and in refinishing processes. Organic solvents have become more common because they are better for the environment. Common examples include dry cleaning solutions, paint thinner, glue agents, detergents, and spot removers. Less intense versions are typically used in the home, while more concentrated cleaners are needed for industrial use.

The evaporation rate of these substances often depends on environmental temperature. A low boiling solvent such as diethyl either will evaporate quickly when a small amount is applied under regular room temperatures. Higher boiling substances must have more intense temperatures, certain airflow, and possibly a vacuum application to evaporate quickly. Flammability is determined by the volatility of the solution. In some instances, the right mixture of these chemicals can cause an explosion. It is important to use appropriate chemicals along with proper handling for prevention of chemical reactions.

Most Used Forms of Industrial Degreasers or Cleaners

Industrial degreasers are common in many work environments. Usage of these solvents is important because their vaporization, flammability, and additional properties can harm those who must use them or work in their general vicinity. Common solvents can be found in various cleaning products. Prolonged exposure to these solutions may cause health problems, such as organ damage or long-term health conditions.

The Environmental Protection Agency regulates use of these substances to protect both the environment and individuals. The harmful effects of cleaning agents have led to organic substitutes that reduce or eliminate the amount of compounds released into the air. Hazardous Air Pollutants are released into the atmosphere and can be inhaled by unsuspecting individuals.

Safe alternative materials exist, and are free of these compounds and are completely benign to the environment. Organic solvents discharge Volatile Organic Compounds that are harmful to people, despite having the organic label. Alternatives with minimal to no VOCs are now available to reduce these effects.

Five common industrial degreasers can be found in business settings. Trichloroethylene is a metal cleaner that can also be used for spot treating. It is not flammable, but the chemical can be inhaled or absorbed into the body. Extensive inhalation may cause heart, liver, and brain problems. Other side effects include nausea or headaches. Perchloroethylene has various applications, with one of the most prominent being dry cleaning. It can also be used as a metal cleaning agent or a lubricant. The synthetic solvent is not flammable, but can be inhaled. Methylene Chloride is a paint-stripping agent that can also clean metals. Isoparaffinic solvent products are fabricated solutions used for degreasing.

These oil-based cleaners are odorless and less toxic, and only extensive exposure causes significant side effects in humans. Finally, modified alcohols can be implemented for metal cleaning or degreasing. The EPA has approved these alcohols as an alternative to other cleaning agents because of their low toxicity. Prolonged exposure to any of these substances is dangerous. Businesses can purchase organic alternatives that are both safer for their workers and cost effective.

Solvent products are used for various types of business cleaning applications. Industrial degreasers may be replaced with safer alternatives such as organic cleaning agents.

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