Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are the primary sources of low-altitude smog. “Organic” means the chemical comes from something that used to be alive; “Volatile” means it evaporates quickly; “Compound” means it’s a complex molecule containing many ingredients and not just a simple element. If a VOC has a long atmospheric life, it will react with sunlight and cause smog.
The most common VOC is gasoline, which comes from dead dinosaurs and is responsible for about 40% of the smog we see. Paints are loaded with alcohol — another VOC — and when paints dry the alcohol evaporates and forms smog, too. VOCs are everywhere.
(Note: VOC-exempt is a special category of chemistries with very short duration in the atmosphere and hence do not contribute to smog.)
Low-VOC Choices from MicroCare
MicroCare engineers have reformulated many of the cleaning products for reduced VOC levels. Here’s just a short list, as some examples:
- Some fast-drying cleaners also have VOC ingredients. The Universal Contact Cleaner (#MCC-UCC) is 100% free of VOC.
- One of the newer additions is the VOC-Free Flux Remover – UltraClean™ (#MCC-VOC). This is a totally unique cleaning formulation, available only from MicroCare, and it has been specifically engineered for those markets with tight VOC restrictions, such as California, Texas and parts of the EU. In terms of performance, it is a highly effective circuit cleaner, offering superior results on “no-clean” fluxes and very good cleaning on rosin- and lead-free fluxes as well. This product also easily removes silicone conformal coatings and silicone glues. It’s an excellent choice for defluxing circuit boards during rework and repair. Importantly, this fast-drying fluid is the strongest cleaner on the market in its class.
- Another best-selling choice that is 93% VOC-free is the No-Clean Flux Remover — VeriClean™ (#MCC-DC1). This is a great choice but at 93% it may not make the grade in some areas.
- Another great, nonflammable choice is the new Universal Flux Remover (#MCC-UFR). Medium-strength, fast-drying, this product is available anywhere in the world without restriction.
- Some of the slower-drying solvents are borderline VOCs as defined by their slow evaporation rate. This means they may not be regulated in some communities. The General Purpose Degreaser, the Citrus-based Flux Remover and the TidyPen™ all are 100% slow-drying organics, so they may (or may not) be regulated as VOCs in different communities.
All MicroCare products have their non-exempt organic content listed on their product spec sheet, the SDS sheet, and on the can label, so you can always tell the VOC impact of the different selections. However, every community has different rules, so the savvy engineer will be careful to check their regulations before making a final selection. For example, California’s CARB rules regulate a chemical by both the ingredients AND the application, so an acceptable solvent for cleaning electronics may not be an acceptable choice for washing windows. Check the rules in your area.