Although an effective and versatile solvent, trichloroethylene, also known as TCE, is slowly beginning to fade out of industrial use.
The main reason for this solvent’s decline in popularity? Its toxicity.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss the various uses of TCE, the dangers of this solvent, and why trichloroethylene substitutes are on the rise.
Uses of Trichloroethylene
This organic solvent has been utilized in various industries and commercial applications, such as:
- The primary use of the solvent, around 80%, is for the degreasing of metal equipment. For many companies, TCE is the go-to solvent for vapor degreasing. Because it has a high boiling point and is non-flammable, the solvent is considered ideal for vapor degreasing.
- Many textile industries use TCE as an extraction solvent to remove fats, oils, and waxes from certain types of fabrics, such as cotton and wool.
- TCE is also used in the production of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants.
- TCE has been added to various types of household products, such as cleaning wipes, carpet cleaners, paint removers, paint thinners, lubricants, adhesives, and typewriter correction fluids.
Why Is TCE Being Phased Out by Certain Industries?
Primarily, it is due to the negative health effects that TCE use can cause, particularly affecting workers who are consistently exposed to it:
- The solvent is a known carcinogen and can potentially cause liver and kidney cancer, or even lymphoma.
- Moderate exposure levels can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, confusion, loss of coordination, and respiratory irritation.
- High exposure levels may cause liver damage, kidney damage, neurological damage, permanent cardiac issues, memory loss, unconsciousness, and even death.
- Additionally, the solvent has been shown to contaminate groundwater and drinking water sources through improper disposal and storage tank leaks.
Is There a Trichloroethylene Substitute?
Those searching for a substitute that will effectively replace TCE without compromising worker and environmental safety are in luck, as there are now many green solvents available on the market that are specifically formulated to replace traditional hazardous solvents.
Utilizing green solvents may also be more cost-effective in the long run, as there are fewer regulations associated with safer solvents than hazardous ones like TCE.
Interested in Purchasing a Trichloroethylene Substitute?
Here at Ecolink, we pride ourselves on providing high-quality environmentally preferred solvents for various industrial applications. Our products also ensure the safety of workers, as we prioritize replacing traditional highly toxic products.