View Full Version : Brake cleaner and welding safety issue
07-22-2009, 04:01 PM
I urge you to read the short article linked below. I've got all the ingredients in the article in my shop, and could have easily ended up in the same dire condition as the person writing the article.
Yes sir that brake clean is no joke.
NEVER use brake clean on anything you are going to be welding on...
even your bench top...the stuff can linger for days and a little bit can make you sick or dead...:eek:
had a close call myself a few years back when a customer cleaned an assembly with brakeclean, I struck an arc and that was all she wrote, took my breathe away luckily I was outside in a light wind and all I got was a scare. Now I make sure to ask if it was ever used and instruct them not to use it in the future...
07-22-2009, 08:49 PM
My god.. that's insane. Phosgeen sounds like some nasty stuff. Thanks for the heads up. I'm gonna check every can of fluid in the shop. Is it only the tetrachloride or are there other nasty combo's?? I use all sorts of stuff. MEK, 1-1-1 Trichlor, mineral spirits, WD40 you name it.
Does the residue contain the bad stuff or is it only when it it's liquid?
07-22-2009, 09:15 PM
My CRC Brake-Kleen doesn't have the chlorides, instead the MSDS lists:
Hazardous ingredient: carbon dioxide (propellent), Naphtha (petroleum), hydrotreated light (benzene<0.1%), propan-2-ol; isopropyl alcohol ;isopropanol acetone; propan-2-one; propanone Naphtha (petroleum), hydrodesulfurized light (benzene<0.1%)
However, my can of CRC Lectro-Motive electric motor cleaner does have the chlorides.
Both of them seem to have liver/kidney damage as possible effects. It sounds like the ones without chlorides are largely acetone, alcohol and some light petroleum distallates.
I tend to use LPS1/WD40 for cleaning up lightly greasy stuff and Oil-eater (great stuff much better than Gunk) for heavy greasy/soiled parts (and those then get rinsed with water and Simple Green). I use acetone for my pre-weld wipe-downs.
Unfortunately I don't have the background in chemistry to be able to look at a list of ingredients and be able to spot "do not combust this or mix with that" issues.
It does seem like anything that works really well tends to be especially toxic.
I've gotten whiffs of the phosgene from home a/c compressors (I was told the old type of Freon turned into phosgene or something very like it when it was burned as the compressor went out) that were being switched out back in the early 1970s. It didn't take much of a whiff to set me coughing and choking.
I know of a number of people who have developed sensitivities to fiberglas resins and various solvents. I can hardly stand to use the solvent that I have in my small parts washer and I'm going to have to drain that and get something else. Even with only using it outdoors I can taste the solvent for an hour or two afterwards.
An extra 10 minutes of scrubbing off dirt is probably better than the seizures the guy in the article was having.
07-22-2009, 09:29 PM
This is excellent safety information. I understand that phosgene gas was very effective on troops in WWI.
I've heard but that old-style phenolic can be a source of phosgene gas when machined and heated to the point where it smokes. Fortunately, phenolic is not very common anymore, although it is an excellent material for electrical insulation.
07-23-2009, 03:52 AM
at work i never worry as a lot of kit has nasty s..t on it, i do my welding in an old fume cupboard which to be honest is great, slide up the [rather pitted] front door, switch on fan hooray fumes gone, it is a very simple arrangement which leads me to the point of fume extraction, if you dont have it get some/make some, just a fan in a pipe is fine, phosgene announces itself, its a minority gas, most dont announce themselves.
Like the smell of fresh Mown grass, mustard gas, Almonds? CN [cyanide] theres loads of oderless crap produced while welding [ Zn,s good but you always know youve had some, esp if you smoke]
CO, carbon monoxide, thats good, you can die of it in a room with the window open!, it has bout 14 times the affinity with heamaglobin than Oxygen,[prick finger if suspect blood will be scarlet ]
come to think of it oxy is poison in high concs too!
we wont go into axphixiants!lol
It seems we are able to generate a whole lot of dangerous crap, do it as safely as you can,..and get a good extractor, just in case
07-23-2009, 07:32 AM
Last few times I have had problems with welding fumes it was welding something that had been powder coated.
The gas coming off that chokes you pretty good. Feel like you have been punched in the chest pretty hard.
07-23-2009, 07:52 AM
Wow...that's some very scarey stuff alright.
I seldom use any kind of chemical cleaners prior to welding but if I have to I've always used laquer thinner. I have no idea what kinda bad crap is in that but I'm still here anyway.
Thanks for that!
09-19-2009, 07:18 PM
Couthe (whatever that is i lack it I was told tonight as I snapped open my 8 th tall boy of carling beer LOL) Yup i agree but the point being I just wash all my parts in beer just to be safe. i dont use a LOT just a wee bit caude that would be Alcohol abuse.