Millions of workers are exposed to toxic solvents on a daily basis. Cleaning in an industrial environment almost always includes using some type of solvent to remove dirt, mold release, grease or grime, but did you know that many health hazards are associated with solvent exposure?
Generally speaking, inhaling or touching any type of solvent can pose potentially dangerous health concerns and should be avoided. Many workers are unaware of the potential hazards in their work environment, which makes them even more vulnerable to long term health issues. Employers are responsible for informing employees of the hazards and the identities of workplace chemicals to which they are exposed and providing the proper protective handling equipment.
Certain solvents that are inhaled can adversely affect the respiratory tract and central nervous system. Every solvent has the ability to cause dermatitis by dissolving the oils that protect your skin and drying/chapping it. Skin irritation is the most common side effect. In fact, if you do have to use a solvent in your industry, we recommend a citrus-based one, as it is not as harmful to your skin.
If for no other reason than the health of their employees, many companies are turning to ultrasonic cleaning with water based detergents and eliminating the use of toxic solvents. What they are also discovering, in addition, is that in industrial settings where heavy duty cleaning is warranted, ultrasound cleans more precisely, even better, than solvents!
If you have had success with solvents but are weary of the health effects it may cause you and your employees, try using ultrasonic “soaps”. These water-based soaps by themselves are often not as effective as industrial based solvents, however, when they are combined with the powerful mechanical agitation of ultrasonic cavitation, they will easily outperform solvents and hand scrubbing. Ultrasonic soaps are especially unique because they are specially designated for almost all types of cleaning applications. To see if there is a soap for your needs, here is a link that can help: www.Omegasonics.com/industrial/chemistry.shtml.
With ultrasonic cleaning, we can all breathe a little easier… on several different levels!