Trichloroethylene, also known as TCE, is a controversial, yet widely used solvent for various industrial and commercial applications. However, using this popular solvent comes with some serious risks.
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at what TCE is, the dangers of this solvent, and trichloroethylene alternatives that are safer and more eco-friendly.
Industrial Uses for TCE
Industrially, this man-made chemical is used for a wide range of purposes:
- Degreasing – About 80% of the solvent’s usage is for degreasing metal equipment. It is a particularly popular choice for vapor degreasing due to its non-flammability, high boiling point, and ability to dissolve stubborn grease and debris.
- Extraction solvent – It is also utilized in the textile industry for the removal of grease and oils from various types of fabrics, such as cotton and wool.
- Intermediate – In the pharmaceutical industry, trichloroethylene is commonly used as an intermediate in the production of organic chemicals or drugs.
Risks of TCE Use
Despite the effectiveness and versatility of the solvent, TCE has a reputation of being a risky solvent to work with. In recent years, the short and long-term health effects of TCE on industrial workers and those who are continuously exposed to it have been shown to be very serious:
- The known carcinogen can cause several types of cancer and potentially lymphoma.
- If inhaled, the chemical can cause dizziness, headaches, nausea, respiratory irritation, and unconsciousness.
- Chronic exposure can lead to memory loss, nervous system damage, liver damage, kidney damage, and permanent cardiac issues.
- Additionally, the chemical has been found to contaminate various drinking water sources and groundwater, as it is not always able to evaporate, therefore it can accumulate and affect unsuspecting people.
Because of the risks associated with TCE, the chemical has been increasingly regulated in the U.S. and even banned in certain countries. Luckily, there are now many trichloroethylene alternatives available that will not only ensure the safety of both workers and the environment but will be more cost-effective, as they will not have as many regulations that companies will have to comply with.
Looking for Effective Trichloroethylene Alternatives?
Ecolink provides a selection of high-quality industrial solvents that are environmentally preferred, safer for workers, and more cost-efficient than traditional hazardous solvents. You can browse our selection of products here! You can also reach out to Ecolink staff here for help finding the best product for your industrial needs!