A specialty coating application company had recently changed solvents in its degreasing tank due to regulatory requirements. Since then, employees had been experiencing symptoms such as burning eyes. The symptoms were not present when the company first started to use the solvent. The employees and the company owner were very concerned, and wanted to have air quality monitoring conducted to find the cause. One of the company’s suppliers was suggesting that the solvent being used was the likely cause of the problem, and would have to be replaced at a cost of over ten thousand dollars.
We were asked to assist and took the following actions:
- The performance of air quality monitoring was discouraged until a detailed assessment of the problem could be conducted.
- A separate supplier was found that was able to provide a solvent stabilizer and a solvent test kit.
- The solvent was proven to be in good condition through pH and stability testing.
- A set of procedures was developed for proper use of the solvent tank.
The company adopted and implemented our recommended procedures, and the symptoms disappeared. The employees were satisfied with the results and relieved that the source of the problem had been found and corrected. In the end, the project costs were kept low since an effective solution was found without the use of air quality monitoring, and without having to replace the solvent.
The company now has the ability to conduct periodic solvent tests themselves, and has access to an inexpensive source of stabilizer that, if needed, will extend the life of the solvent indefinitely. As the testing that we conducted showed that the solvent was in good condition and salvageable, the recommended solvent replacement was avoided, saving the company an additional ten thousand dollars. The company owner was delighted.