The ABCs of Solvents

Solvent regulations update.
–Joe McChesney

Where can I find information on the solvents listed in the EPA reports?
Go to the EPA site and you can look under your particular solvent that you’re using, such as TCE or MPB or polyethylene, and type that in and look for the current regulations. You can also go and type in the TSCA, Toxic Substances Control Act, and you’ll get the latest current updates from there. You can download these public documents to have the reports.

I currently use a solvent degreaser. Will my unit operate properly with the new solvents?
That’s a very good question and it’s kind of open ended because it depends on the type of machine you have in a generation. The older generation machines typically were a little lacking on cooling for the new lower boiling point solvents. Also, the heat and vapor emissions tend to be more. The newer generation machines over the last several years have more cooling, more energy efficient, tighter sealing covers, automation and handling. And again, most of the solvents that are in today’s world can be put in a newer generation machine by simply cleaning out the other solvent and adjust your controls. So, at that point, you can get that technical assistance from KYZEN or any your equipment supplier, and we’d be glad to help you on that.

When do you expect the EPA regulations to take effect?
Well, as you saw all the chemical risk valuations were released in 2020 and they basically had a year to develop the action plan and that plan is being developed as we speak this year. The final rule is due two years from the official release date, so that puts it into 2022. And I expect somewhere around midyear to the end of the year, 2022. The firm rules and regulation will come out and I expect to be an either severely restrict the use of these solvents and limited such as personal exposure limits or pounds per year. And most of them, I expect, will be probably banned or phased out of production by the end of the year.

What is the best solution if I must stick with solvent degreasing?
If you have to solvent degreasing and for a lot of different reasons, the future solvent degreasing is vacuum technology. There will still be different type of solvent degreasers with the newer great solvent, but for cost of operations and environmental compliance of the future again is vacuum degreasing systems using modified alcohol or hydrocarbons.