Do Industrial Degreasing Solvents Pose Health Risks?

Companies that operate in industrial settings use cleaning procedures to prepare parts for surface finishing and to protect sensitive equipment. Typically, companies use industrial degreasing solvents for this procedure. These solvents are cleaning agents that are directly applied to the machine using brushing, spraying, or wiping. Once applied, these cleaning agents remove dirt, oils, and other contaminants from the surface of parts and machinery. However, organizations should recognize that many degreasers contain harmful chemicals. This poses health risks for employees who work with industrial degreasing solvents. They also harm the environment. This article will list some of the chemicals that organizations should watch out for when evaluating degreasers.

Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs)

When HAPs are included in degreasers, they pose an environmental threat because they emit toxins into the atmosphere. This is also dangerous for those that work with these chemicals, as they are likely to breathe in HAPs once they are emitted. HAPs produce reactions like: dizziness, breathing issues, upset stomach, nerve damage, and infertility. This means that companies have to worry about long-term costs resulting from lawsuits and health insurance claims.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

VOCs are safe in small doses but are harmful when industrial degreasing solvents contain high VOC concentrations. These chemicals are so dangerous that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which makes sure that emission levels are low, regulates them. Exposure to VOCs leads to headaches, nausea, damage to the liver and kidneys, and central nervous system failure. Companies should ideally purchase degreasers that do not contain harmful VOCs.


This solvent is most dangerous because it is very flammable, making it an extreme fire hazard. Acetone is also harmful when ingested because it causes skin dryness, headaches, and irritates the eyes, nose, and throat.


This solvent is often included in degreasers and causes light headaches and dry skin when exposed to people.

Ethyl Lactate

This solvent is less flammable than many other industrial degreasing solvents, yet carries detrimental side effects. Exposure to ethyl lactate can result in skin, eye, and respiratory irritation, and will also affect the nervous system’s ability to function.

Companies that are serious about reducing damage to the environment while creating a safe workplace have turned to the use of organic industrial degreasing solvents. Since these solvents are completely free of dangerous toxins like the ones listed above, they pose no health risk to employees who work with them. Additionally, they do not harm the environment because of how they work. Organic degreasers are chemically engineered to break down oils and contaminants into water. These contaminants can then be effortlessly washed away without the use of costly disposal measures. Contaminant residue will then evaporate, and make the cleaning process even easier for industrial companies.

When looking for organic industrial degreasing solvents, organizations must make sure that they purchase cleaners with a suitable flash point. For more information on which chemical cleaner is best for a specific environment or job, reach out to a supplier of environmentally-friendly organic degreasers today.