From Harmful Solvents to Modern Sustainable Cleaning Fluids

Author: Sheri Pear, MicroCare Communications Specialist

Nearly all of the recent advances in cleaning fluid technology center around developing safe chemistries that meet both cleanliness standards and environmental regulations – meaning they do not contribute to global warming and are not an ozone depleting substance. However, it was not always that way.

Prior to 1990s

Prior to the 1990s, the two most common vapor degreasing solvents were CFC-113 and 1-1- 1-trichloroethane. The production of these “Class I Ozone-Depleting Substances,” as defined under the Clean Air Act, was terminated on January 1, 1996.

A less-damaging group of cleaners, called the “Class II Ozone-Depleting Substances,” was  as an interim cleaning option. The most popular of these was the  HCFC-141b solvent. However, the manufacture of HCFC-141b ended on January 1, 2003, and the use of this material in solvent cleaning applications was banned in 1997.

The 2000s

In the 2000s, other  high-performing cleaning solvents were introduced. Trichloroethylene (TCE), Perchloroethylene (Perc), methylene chloride, benzine and n-Propyl bromide (nPB) served the industry for years. However, it is apparent that these solvents present air and ground water quality issues as well as health and safety concerns. This has resulted in he establishment of layers of regulations to discourage their use.

Today’s Modern Cleaning Fluids

Today, there are a number of modern cleaning fluids available that are both very effective and environmentally-progressive. Some examples include Tergo Metal Cleaning Fluid and Opteon SF80 Specialty Fluid. They meet the high solvency needs of the industrial cleaning market. Plus they are safe, nonflammable and environmentally friendly. Many have zero or minimal ozone depletion (ODP) levels and low global warming potentials (GWP), while providing consistent, affordable, high-quality cleaning.

Plus, the new cleaning fluids are sustainable. This means they not only meet today’s global environmental regulatory demands, but also the emerging “green” rules for the future.