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Unread 04-13-2010, 05:00 PM   #1
meadz
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Something to be aware of when welding.

Found this thought it would be a good lesson without learning the hard way.

Chemical reactions with heat can be deadly

Please read artical

Brake Cleaner = Phosgene Article

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Unread 04-13-2010, 05:05 PM   #2
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It was posted once, but its always good for more people to know. I would have probably titled it Welding over Brake Cleaner cleaned parts will KILL YOU! (cleaner cleaned, does that make sense. haha)
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Unread 09-13-2010, 01:57 PM   #3
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I never knew that, I am very glad I came accross this! Thanks
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Unread 09-13-2010, 02:30 PM   #4
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Me too!!!

Never heard of it. That is scary as hell that such a small amount will screw you up that bad.
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Unread 09-14-2010, 12:56 AM   #5
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shouldnt this be a sticky?
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Unread 09-14-2010, 02:34 AM   #6
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good to know. Just kind of crazy since I have been watching people burn and spray brake cleaner on hot metal for years. Maybe it's just certain brands that use that chemical? I personally use acetone because it all evaporates so fast
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Unread 09-14-2010, 04:55 AM   #7
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Phosgene gas is nasty stuff; the Germans used it during the Great War to kill people.

It isn't the heat that turns brake cleaner into it. The CFCs in brake cleaner will decompose into phosgene in the presence of arc rays from welding. Been there, done that, made the ER visit. Luckily, didn't get enough to do any lasting harm, and from what I read at the time, the experience of the guy in the article is abnormal, because it is one of those things that if you survive at all, you generally make a full recovery. It's possible he already had problems he didn't know about yet, or that he was exposed to more than just the phosgene.

The scary thing is the way phosgene kills you; once you have evacuated the area where you were exposed, your breathing goes back to normal. Then, if you got a bad dose, somewhere between something like 12 and 72 hours, your lungs fill with fluid and you die from drowning. About all they can do is try to make you comfortable. It made for an uneasy few days after I was exposed.

There are other ways you can get exposed as well. It sometimes happens to welders in autobody shops, making sheet metal repairs to vehicles with leaking A/C systems. Same deal, CFCs being exposed to arc rays. It also happens in structure fires, because there are some foams that will emit phosgene when burned.

Be careful. I don't use anything more aggressive than rubbing alcohol as a wipe down prior to welding anymore. Waiting until you think all of the brake cleaner has evaporated, or even spraying it down outdoors isn't enough (I did both). It only takes a miniscule amount.
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Unread 09-14-2010, 06:42 AM   #8
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DAMMNN that is scary! I use brake cleaner on just about everything I weld to get the grease off. I will start using carb cleaner now if I have to weld something. That brake cleaner evaporates really fast, I cant see how he managed to get so much, that it stayed a liquid. That is curtainly something I will start watching out for. Thanks for posting!
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Unread 09-14-2010, 07:34 AM   #9
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If you blow it off with air first, it won't be a problem. But it's safer to just not use brake cleaner. Use carb cleaner, instead.

It IS the heat that turns brake cleaner into Phosgene, a.k.a. Mustard Gas, not the UV arc itself. I guess you could make a case for the arc doing in, since the arc is HOT, but it's not the light itself...it's the heat.

Spray brake cleaner down a running engine and you'll get phosgene that way, too.....I got a couple days of breathing difficulty from some idiot doing that inside a shop years ago.
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Unread 09-14-2010, 08:08 AM   #10
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I've done that countless times, really dodged a bullet on that one. That is some really scary Sh*t. Is there any advantage to brake cleaner over carb cleaner?
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Unread 09-14-2010, 01:04 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Pacfanweb View Post
It IS the heat that turns brake cleaner into Phosgene, a.k.a. Mustard Gas, not the UV arc itself. I guess you could make a case for the arc doing in, since the arc is HOT, but it's not the light itself...it's the heat.
Double checked, and apparently it is both:

Quote:
CHLORINATED HYDROCARBON SOLVENTS

Various chlorinated hydrocarbons are used in degreasing or other cleaning operations. The vapors of these solvents are a concern in welding and cutting because the heat and ultraviolet radiation from the arc will decompose the vapors and form highly toxic and irritating phosgene gas. (See Phosgene.)

PHOSGENE

Phosgene is formed by decomposition of chlorinated hydrocarbon solvents by ultraviolet radiation. It reacts with moisture in the lungs to produce hydrogen chloride, which in turn destroys lung tissue. For this reason, any use of chlorinated solvents should be well away from welding operations or any operation in which ultraviolet radiation or intense heat is generated.
From OSHA:

Welding Health Hazards
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Unread 09-14-2010, 05:58 PM   #12
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thanks for posting this, good idea to make it a sticky.......I heard a couple years ago something about this but didnt get the full story...........so Ive been using rubbing alcohol before i weld, used to use lacquer thinner also..... Do they make a certain cleaner to remove grease oil etc.....that is safe???
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Unread 09-14-2010, 08:35 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by monkers View Post
thanks for posting this, good idea to make it a sticky.......I heard a couple years ago something about this but didnt get the full story...........so Ive been using rubbing alcohol before i weld, used to use lacquer thinner also..... Do they make a certain cleaner to remove grease oil etc.....that is safe???
Nothing wrong with carb cleaner. It works about the same as brake cleaner...evaporates quickly, but doesn't turn into a chemical weapon when you burn it.
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Unread 09-22-2010, 09:29 PM   #14
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Great now I am gonna have to show 9 forms of ID when I buy some brake cleaner because Al *****da might use it for nefarious purposes.

Don't forget about welding on the Zinc/Cadmium coated parts as well, that crap is really nasty as well. AFSCME - Welding
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Unread 09-22-2010, 10:25 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by schitzangiggles View Post
Great now I am gonna have to show 9 forms of ID when I buy some brake cleaner because Al *****da might use it for nefarious purposes.

Don't forget about welding on the Zinc/Cadmium coated parts as well, that crap is really nasty as well. AFSCME - Welding
Cad fumes are scary dangerous, but zinc isn't so bad. You don't want to breathe zinc fumes, and should take pains to avoid it, but while it will make you sick, your body is able to get rid of it without doing any permanent damage. This is why virtually all hardware store hardware these days is zinc plated instead of cad.

Something to be aware of, is aircraft hardware is still almost exclusively cad plated, and a lot of aircraft bolts resemble grade 8 bolts, and some have similar markings (the gold color of each is from the conversion coating process, not the plating itself). So, unless you are absolutely certain that what you have is grade 8 (like didn't come out of a bucket of unknown bolts), it is best not to weld on it at all no matter how careful you are to remove the plating first.
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