Safety Recommendations for Solvent Based Cleaners

Solvent based cleaners are solutions whose base is primarily comprised of chemicals, which are largely responsible for delivering the cleaning power of the solutions. Some solvent based cleaners are safer for humans and the environment than others. However, even when a solvent cleaner is considered safer to use than some of its toxic counterparts, in order to be considered truly safe for use, it must often be administered within the context of the safety measures below.

Special Ventilation System

Solvents that emit airborne particles that could cause respiratory distress, upset stomach, dizziness, or other troublesome, acute health conditions should be administered in an environment with a special ventilation system that is designed to efficiently pull the particles from the air instead of letting them hang around and precipitate acute health problems.

Tightly Sealed Cleaner Containers

When solvent based cleaners are not in use, they can still emit vapors that cause acute health issues such as the ones mentioned above, though usually not with the same intensity as open containers from which liquid is dispensed. Tightly sealed containers also help preserve solvent that has a high evaporation rate, as well as prevent accidental spills in the work environment

Personal Protective Equipment

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is exactly what it sounds like: attire that workers wear to prevent exposure to conditions in the work environment that could cause serious harm, including powerful chemicals that could create a wide array of acute and chronic health conditions. For help selecting PPE, consult this “Selecting PPE” resource from OSHA.

Elimination of Ignition Sources

From open flames in metallurgical heat treating environments to sparks in work areas where welding is performed, there are numerous types of ignition sources that could potentially ignite solvent based cleaners that have a medium to low flash point. When these types of cleaners must be applied, ignition sources should be eliminated before the solvents are administered.

Chemical Waste Disposal System

When solvent based cleaners contain ingredients that could negatively impact workers and the environment, they should be administered in work areas that contain a chemical waste disposal systems that quickly secure the ingredients and store them under safe conditions until in-house or third party waste disposal specialists can safely remove them from the waste trap.

Need Safer Solvent Based Cleaners?

In terms of safety, solvent based cleaners range from being highly toxic to humans and the environment to having a commendable safety profile regarding these considerations. Ecolink specializes in supplying the latter type of solvent cleaners. Whether your organization uses a solvent cleaner whose ingredients the EPA is scheduled to regulate, or you simply want a safer cleaner for the sake of your workers and the environment, we can provide the right solution.

Call us today at (800) 563-1305 for assistance determining whether one of our readymade cleaners or a custom cleaning solution is the best option for your needs. Let us provide you with a safer solution that benefits the health of your workers and helps to protect the environment!

1 Bromopropane(nPB) listed as higher hazard substance in Massachusetts. Is this the beginning of the end for nPB?

Cleaner world with 1 Bromopropane/N Propyl Bromide ReplacementIndustrial solvents containing n-propyl bromide (nPB), or 1 bromopropane as it’s also known, are affordable and effective solvent degreasers that have served as a reliable replacement to TCE (Trichloroethylene) for decades now. However, like TCE before it, 1 bromopropane has become known to the public as a potential carcinogen and neurotoxin. Studies have found that nPB has both acute and chronic toxicity caused by solvent vapor exposure from inhalation and through skin absorption. Worker safety is a key factor here as nPB is a popular solvent for both cold cleaning and vapor degreasing.

How is nPB Being Managed Today?

Given that the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection updated the Toxics Use Reduction Act (TURA) and added n-propyl bromide to their list of toxic chemicals; this is a reasonable indicator that 1-bromopropane will likely become restricted or limited by the EPA in the near future. If you are under such restrictions or if you simply want to provide a safer working environment, we have a line of products ready to serve as drop-in replacements.

Finding a 1 Bromopropane Alternative that is Right for You

Many nPB alternatives offer the same if not better cleaning power as the nPB solvents they replace. These products are drop-in replacements because they can be swapped with the current nPB cleaners as a safer solution and it will not slow your cleaning process. Ecolink is a licensed distributor of FluoSolv AP® which is an excellent replacement for nPB based solvents. FluoSolv® AP (All Purpose) is non-hazardous and has a high allowable exposure limit. The Fluosolv® line has products that excel in both modern vapor degreasing equipment or spray and wipe aerosol application. To see how Fluosolv products stack up to TCE, nPB and MEK, Click Here.


Not Ready to Move on from 1 Bromopropane? Hypersolve has you Covered

Let’s face it, for many users of nPB based products, there may be little incentive to switch to a new, potentially more expensive, replacement material. 1 bromopropane based solvents simply do a great job cleaning in the following applications:

  • Adhesive and sealant removal
  • Asphalt Extractions (Bituminous Asphalt)
  • Automotive parts cleaning
  • Carbon soil removal
  • Cleaner/degreaser
  • Drying agent
  • Metal cleaning, hydraulic parts, wheels and brakes
  • Non-destructive Inspection
  • Precision cleaning
  • Printed wiring board cleaning
  • Surface wipe cleaning

Given adequate ventilation and ensuring safety precautions, you could very well continue using nPB based products in your operations with minimal risk. If this is the case, Ecolink offers Hypersolve™ based on stabilized n-propyl bromide. We can and will continue to supply Hypersolve until the day you look to switch to an EPA/OSHA friendly solvent.

Whether using 1 Bromopropane products or not, learn from the concept of Zero Waste. Zero Waste is an effective hazard reduction practice that can be applied to the use of nPB or any potentially harmful solvent.

What is Zero Waste?

The U.S. Zero Waste Business Council has the goal of teaching zero waste practices to businesses and communities to help them become more healthy and sustainable. Through Zero Waste, businesses can cut greenhouse gases, reduce litter and pollution, and reinvest resources locally. Zero Waste Businesses save money, become more efficient, and manage risks. All of these benefits will help create jobs and more value for the businesses and the communities. If you want to be a part of this movement and grow from these opportunities then apply for Zero Waste certification here.

One of the ways you can help your business contribute to Zero Waste is through solvent distillation. Ecolink proudly partners with CBG Technologies to promote their solvent distillation equipment which continually helps customers save money on recoverable solvent as well as reduce waste output.

Call for information or a quote on any of our nPB alternative products at (800) 563-1305 or send an email inquiry to

You might also be interested to see our aerosol cylinders. Check out the video below for a demonstration:

Replacing NPB Industrial Cleaners Can Reduce Operating Costs

NPB (a.k.a. n propyl bromide) is a strong cleaning agent that is used for various types of cleaning applications, from simple surface cleaning projects to heavy-duty degreasing operations. Although the solvent works well for its intended uses, it is now in the dubious position of the hazardous, chlorinated cleaning solvents it replaced: It is considered dangerous to humans and the environment and should be replaced with a safer cleaning agent.

Even so, many companies and organizations are hesitant to replace NPB industrial cleaners due to costs associated with the changeover, such as retiring their unused supply of the NPB cleaners, conducting tests to discover replacement cleaners that have the same efficacy, and training employees to use those cleaners once they are purchased. However, there are also some compelling cost saving opportunities that come with replacing NPB industrial cleaners.

Reduced Injury Risk
Since 2013, the National Toxicology Program (NTP) has considered NPB to be “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen,” especially when exposure to the cleaner is routine. Acute exposure to NPB can also cause health problems, such as irritation to eyes, mucous membranes, upper airways and skin. In short, NPB is a mercenary injury attorney’s dream.

In addition to precipitating costly legal settlements, NPB exposure can lead to increased workers compensation claims, higher rates of absenteeism, and impaired job performance — all things that take a financial toll on the company or organization that experiences them. When these phenomena result from NPB use, replacing the cleaner could literally save millions of dollars.

Less Costly PPE
OSHA and the EPA use a four-level rating system for personal protective equipment (PPE) that those who work with dangerous substances or in dangerous situations wear. Class A PPE offers the most comprehensive protection, totally insulating workers in a safety suit with a breathing apparatus. Level D offers the least protection, with no breathing apparatus included.

Outfitting a single worker in Level D PPE is the equivalent of buying him an expensive business suit. Applying that cost to multiple workers can quickly make PPE expenditures reach the six-figure mark. If switching to NPB replacement cleaners allows you to equip workers with a lower level of PPE than they currently wear, the cost of PPE could be significantly reduced.

Lower Utility Costs
Work environments that create a high level of exposure to NPB industrial cleaners need a special ventilation system that traps airborne contaminants, with the goal being to prevent them from entering other work areas and the natural environment. Considering that air distribution fans are commonly the most power consuming components in a building’s electrical system, using non-toxic cleaners that don’t require special ventilation strategies could reduce utility costs.

No EPA Fines
In February 2015, the EPA filed a petition to add NPB to its List of Hazardous Air Pollutants — a move that predicts the ban or severe regulation of the cleaning agent. Entities that continue to use NPB in violation of federal usage parameters face stiff fines that may escalate in amount as violations continue. Considering the heavy toll that the recent recession took on the coffers of so many companies, paying costly, avoidable fines to the EPA is simply financially unacceptable.

No Changeover Downtime
For companies whose everyday operations are highly dependant on NPB industrial cleaners, one of the worst things that could happen is having to quickly replace the cleaners after NPB is banned, without a changeover plan in place. This situation could lead to an extended period of downtime for operations that require the cleaning power of the banned chemical in the cleaners.

Technically, proactively replacing an NPB cleaner doesn’t reduce operating costs. Rather, it helps to ensure that revenue streams that NPB cleaners support remain robust. Performing a gradual phase out of NPB that includes the gradual introduction of a safer cleaning agent is the ideal way to ensure that no money is lost on already purchased NPB products, and that replacement products meet all the performance requirements of the replaced NPB cleaners.

Still Using NPB Cleaners?
If so, the sooner your company or organization replaces them, the sooner it will be in the position to realize the cost saving opportunities listed above. If you need assistance finding replacement cleaners that meet the requirements NPB industrial cleaners, Ecolink can provide you with several options. For example, our fluorinated solvents that contain HFC, HFE and HFPO are considered much safer than NPB solvents and can deliver the same level of cleaning power.

We can also create a custom blend if none of our stock products meet your requirements.

To start the NPB replacement process, call us today at (800) 563-1305, or refer to the contact page on our website. By replacing NPB industrial cleaners, you can do something good for your workers, good the environment, and good for the bottom line of your company or organization.





Chemical Cleaner Substitution – Things to Consider

safer-chemicalsBeginning the process of substituting the chemical cleaners your industrial businesses currently has in place that might be harmful to people and to the environment with less hazardous, eco friendly, green alternative chemical compound solutions is one of the most effective ways of reducing, and hopefully eliminating exposure toxicities that pose health threats. A potential chemical hazard includes any chemical, compound, solution, and / or agent that possesses the ability or a property that could cause an adverse health effect or harm to a person under certain conditions. Risking the probability or chance that exposure to a chemical hazard could lead to harm onto a person and / or the environment is a danger that no industrial business can afford.

While occupational hygiene methods for controlling employee exposure to chemicals, such as isolation, enclosure, exhaust ventilation, process or equipment modification, impeccable keeping of a clean facility, enhanced administrative controls, and personal protective equipment are all fine and dandy, substituting a hazardous chemical cleaner for a safe cleaning solution is the preferred and optimal method for guaranteeing safety. While all of the recently mentioned methods reduce, in some manner, the risk of injury or harm by interrupting the path of exposure between the hazardous material and the worker, substitution utterly removes the hazard at the source.

Extreme care must be administered to ensure the current hazard is not exchanged for a new hazard, especially a new hazard that poses a more serious threat. Therefore, before deciding to replace your industrial company’s currently used chemical solvent, you must know if there are any risks involved with the chemical solution to the employees and the environment. If the newly posed risks are deemed as serious, then other alternative cleaning agents should be considered, and its risks must also be thoroughly understood.

The selection of a substitute chemical cleaner can become a complex process. For larger industrial businesses, the selection process for a new chemical cleaner may involve a committee, with representatives from several departments, including engineering, purchasing, research and development, environmental control, waste management, and shipping along with the supervisors and laborers who will work directly with the chemical agent. The following lists the considerations when determining the suitability of a substitute chemical cleaner:

Effectiveness – Can the new chemical cleaner satisfy the technical requirements, such as solubility and drying time, for the job or process?

Compatibility – The substitute chemical cleaner must not interfere or negatively react with the cleaning process, the other materials in use, or the equipment that facilitates the cleaning.

Existing Control Measures – Will the existing control methods adequately control the substitute chemical cleaner?

Waste Disposal – Will the new waste coming from the substitute chemical cleaner interfere with the current waste disposal system, or, in any way, adversely affect the technical and regulatory requirements when dealing with any and all created waste?

Hazard Assessment – A hazard assessment needs to be conducted to decide whether the substitute chemical cleaner in question can mesh with all cleaning operations with which it will participate.