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Safer Alternatives to Halogenated Solvents Guide

TURI recently developed a report, Guide to Finding Safer Alternatives to Halogenated Solvents Used in Surface Cleaning Applications. The guide provides information about a suite of safer alternative chemistries and equipment that can be used to replace halogenated solvents in surface cleaning applications.

Halogenated solvents have historically been used for a wide variety of industrial surface cleaning needs in numerous industry sectors. These solvents are easy to use, relatively inexpensive, and very effective in removing a wide range of contaminants from various surface materials and configurations. These are typically relatively simple molecules that contain halogens – chlorine (Cl), fluorine (F), bromine (Br), or iodine (I).

As a category, however, these solvents present concerns for the environment as well as human health and safety. Hazards noted for some of these halogenated chemicals include damage to the central nervous system, reproductive and developmental toxicity, carcinogenicity and negative respiratory effects. Most halogenated solvents are persistent in air and/or sediment, are ozone-depleting chemicals and/or contribute to the generation of greenhouse gases. Due to these concerns, stricter regulations have been enforced, leading many halogenated solvent users to investigate possible alternatives. Without sufficient information, replacing halogenated solvents can lead to regrettable substitution for cleaning applications.