Trichloroethylene, also known as TCE, is a controversial yet widely used chemical in various industrial sectors. It is primarily used as a degreasing agent, particularly in vapor degreasing processes because of its non-flammability and high boiling point. These desirable properties enable the solvent’s effectiveness and ability to dissolve stubborn grease and debris.
Why Is the Solvent Controversial?
Although trichloroethylene is effective as a degreasing agent for metal equipment and parts, the chemical has been scientifically proven to potentially cause negative physical and neurological effects to people that are exposed:
- It is a known carcinogen, having been shown to cause kidney and liver cancer
- Moderate exposure can cause dizziness, headaches, nausea, or confusion
- High exposure levels can potentially cause kidney damage, liver damage, neurological damage, result in a coma, or even death
- Evidence has also indicated that it may cause reproductive damage
Additionally, TCE is a contaminant, specifically towards groundwater and drinking water sources near industrial facilities that use the solvent. This means that the chemical has and may still affect the health of unsuspecting people living near these facilities.
What Is a VOC?
VOCs, also known as volatile organic compounds, are solvents that characteristically possess a high vapor pressure when they are at room temperature. They are typically industrial solvents and are used in the manufacturing of paints, refrigerants, and pharmaceutical drugs. They commonly contaminate groundwater and are known to contribute to ozone depletion because of their reactions with nitrogen oxides in the atmosphere.
Can We Consider TCE a VOC?
Trichloroethylene is the perfect example of a VOC, if not one of the most common VOC solvents utilized at the industrial level. Because of these qualities, TCE has been becoming significantly more regulated all over the world, even being banned in the EU and the state of Minnesota altogether.
Thankfully, there are now dozens of effective replacements that can ensure the safety of both industrial workers and the environment, while also being cost-effective for companies because they wouldn’t have to worry about compliance with stringent regulations.
Interested in Sustainable Replacements for TCE?
LssChemicals has a selection of high-quality industrial solvents for various applications. Browse LssChemicals products here! You can also reach out to staff for help to find the best product for your industrial chemical needs!