Thursday, August 9, 2012

Inorganic Industrial Degreasing Solvents Present Safety Issues

Industrial degreasing solvents are used as a cleaning agent in professional parts washing and machinery washing. These chemicals might be sprayed, brushed, or wiped directly onto the surface of the contaminated part to remove grease, dirt, or dust. While these degreasers effectively remove contaminants from machinery and extend the useful life of these parts, some of these liquids contain unsafe compounds. When businesses do not properly research the chemicals that they utilize, they run the risk of harming employees and the environment by exposing them to toxic chemicals. This article will take a look at some of the most dangerous substances contained in the industrial degreasing solvents. Business owners should familiarize themselves with the compounds in this article so that they will be able to identify unsafe chemicals and keep them from harming employees and the surrounding environment.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have made a point to focus on the presence of VOCs in cleaning products. In reality, VOCs are safe when consumed in small doses but when individuals are exposed to a high level of VOCs they could experience health issues. Symptoms of high VOC exposure include nausea, headaches, kidney damage, liver damage, and a shutdown of the central nervous system. It is important for companies to evaluate the VOC levels in industrial degreasing solvents before making a purchase.

Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs)

Degreasers that contain HAPs are problematic because when these substances are used, they emit harmful pollutants into the atmosphere. Individuals who work in environments where HAPs are present could inhale these pollutants and become sick. Depending on how long an individual is exposed to HAPs, he or she can develop dizziness, upset stomach, breathing issues, infertility, or nerve damage. Luckily companies can prevent the introduction of HAPs into the workspace by obtaining a list of HAPs from the EPA and using this list when evaluating the degreasers that are available on the market. Being thorough during a search will allow the company to save money by avoiding costly lawsuits and insurance price hikes.

Isopropyl Alcohol

Found in some degreasers, isopropyl alcohol is another toxin that can harm humans. The chemical leads to dry skin and drowsiness while irritating the eyes, nose, and throat. Another major risk associated with using isopropyl alcohol is that it is a very flammable substance, so its presence in a working environment can produce an unsafe workplace for employees.


Acetone is another ingredient that is found in some industrial degreasing solvents that is also an extreme fire hazard. Employees who come in frequent contact with acetone have reported skin dryness, headaches, and even eyes, nose, and throat irritation.


Freon is not a common ingredient in industrial degreasing solvents but is still present in some solutions. While this chemical contains a low level of toxicity and low fire hazard level, it can still cause employees to experience dry skin and light headedness.

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