Toluene is a hydrocarbon solvent utilized by various industries for different applications, mostly in paint thinners, permanent markers, various glues, oil refining, and the production of paints.
Though toluene has been occasionally recommended as an eco-friendlier and safer replacement for benzene, it is linked to multiple health and environmental risks, such as:
- Serious respiratory irritant
- May cause thyroid cancer
- Skin and eye irritants
- Can damage nerves, kidneys, and liver
- Can damage the female reproductive system or cause pregnancy loss
- Toxic to aquatic life
- Associated with smog production (evidence shows it may be a significant contribution to smog)
- Can cause membrane damage in plants
Are There Any Eco-friendly Substitutes for Toluene?
Thankfully, there are various options available that can effectively replace toluene and ensure a safer workspace and less harm to the environment.
Here are some of the greener alternatives on the market:
- Ethyl lactate
- TMO (2,2,5,5-tetramethyloxolane)
- Safe Strip
What Is Ethyl Lactate?
Ethyl lactate is a green solvent derived from lactic acid that has effectively replaced hazardous solvents like toluene and xylene. Due to its effectiveness in cleaning, it is mostly used as a cleaner and degreaser for various metals to remove greases and oils.
The chemical is also utilized in the polyurethane industry and can dissolve various polyurethane resins. The solvent also possesses many desirable qualities, making it a greener and safer option for companies:
- Contains no ozone-depleting substances
What Is TMO?
TMO is an ether solvent that effectively replaces most hydrocarbon solvents, namely toluene. TMO is becoming an increasingly popular option for those searching for a substitute for toluene due to its highly desirable properties as a solvent:
- Low boiling point
- Performance comparable to hydrocarbon solvents
- Relatively inexpensive
- Can be used in adhesive production
- Better solubility than toluene
What Is Safe Strip?
Safe Strip is an eco-friendly paint and resin solvent that also effectively replaces hazardous solvents like toluene, benzene, and methylene chloride. The solvent also possessed very desirable properties for those searching for an eco-friendly paint stripper:
- Low VOC emissions
- Strong performance, comparable to methylene chloride
- No ozone-depleting components
With these highly effective options available, companies must no longer depend on a solvent that harms the environment and endangers workers using them.
Looking for Safer Substitutes for Toluene?
At Ecolink, we offer many environmentally preferred options for various industrial applications. Please reach out to our expert staff to find the best product for your business needs or with any questions regarding our products.