Many companies use aerosol degreasers containing a liquid called “normal propyl bromide” (nPB). Normal propyl bromide is an organic industrial solvent used in a wide variety of applications such as fire retardants, water purification, pesticides and drugs. In general, this is a great product: nonflammable, fast-drying, highly aggressive, cleans great and is very affordable. But it carries serious toxicity worries.
The original toxicity level (called a “TLV”, “AEL” or “PEL” by different companies) was set at 100 ppm and at that level, nPB could be safely used in aerosols. However, newer studies found nPB damages the nervous system, alters human DNA, impairs fertility and there is a risk of cancer. Based on these reports, in 2004 the U.S. E.P.A. recommended an exposure limit of 25 ppm. The American Conference of Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) set a limit of 10 ppm. California set a workplace exposure limit of 5 ppm.
But most importantly, in 2014 the ACGIH lowered the exposure rating to 0.1 ppm. It is impossible to use nPB in an aerosol and stay below this recommended safety level. Because of the toxicity, MicroCare does not sell nPB in aerosol packages but only into modern, tight cleaning machines.
Today, new cleaning fluids are available which work as well and are far safer. MicroCare works with engineers to specify cleaning processes that are effective and safe. Product safety, storage and handling procedures, fluid selection and operator training are all part of the MicroCare program. MicroCare also offers a state-of-the-art critical cleaning laboratory where cleaning studies are performed to ensure the best fluid and process is offered to each customer.
Importantly, the toxicity ratings for the alternative cleaners are much safer which means the products can be used in aerosols without health risks.