"In the U.S., the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires that MSDS be available to employees for potentially harmful substances handled in the workplace under the Hazard Communication regulation. The MSDS is also required to be made available to local fire departments and local and state emergency planning officials under Section 311 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. The American Chemical Society defines Chemical Abstracts Service Registry Numbers (CAS numbers) which provide a unique number for each chemical and are also used internationally in MSDSs."
(MSDS info from wikipedia.org)
I use to work in a plant for 3 years that made phosgene gas, I was caught up a leak and inhaled a lot of gas. I spent the next 14 hours in medical under oxygen. I ended up with a sever case of chemical pneumonia it took me about 6 months to fully recover. Phosgene is an acid gas and when mixed with the fluid in your lungs becomes very corrosive. If anyone is unfortunate and inhales phosgene please go to the hospital they can put you on a breathing machine while your lungs heal. One breath will do a lot of damage as did to the guy in the article. If he would have taken a second breath he may not be alive. As a welder for the past 24 years my advice to everyone is to use a torch or buffer to remove any oil, don't use any type of degreaser.
Im guessing a chlorine free brake cleaner would be a better substitute?
no, as a welder, i would say grinding would be the only logical choice to prep metal. no cleaners will work, and as stated they can kill you. be smart, sanders and grinders are cheaper than being in a hospital and living with an oxygen tank your whole life.
I work in a heavy hauler shop where the mechanics love to use brakekleen We only use the non-chlorinated one and usually we let everything dry off before welding. Slap Shot from Walter is a less toxic cleaner than brake cleaner but no one seems to want to switch. All the welders in our shop have the 3M adflo welding helmet which is awesome for filtering everything out of our breathing air. the biggest thing with brake clean is fire. It has been the cause of a few oil pans being blown off engines in the shop. Never ever use the chlorinated version if you are going to weld!
I'm going to add a few ways to safely remove oil and grease before welding...
DeNatured Alcohol works great for the minor removal of oil and greasy spots...Denatured Alcohol is 100% alcohol,no water additive,so no worries of flash rust if that's one of your concerns.
Just an FYI,Distilled water will not cause rust at all,it has been De-Mineralised by the same process moonshiners use in thier stills...lol,pure water doesn't cause rust,it's the minerals in water that cause the rust process to start...you can buy Distilled water by the gallon at local stores for $0.60 to $1.00 on the average...It has to be "distilled"..not just filtered or spring water.
Any of the solvent free strong degreasers and cleaners are good safe cleaners before welding,purple power..simple green..etc etc..
I use the concentrated Dawn dishwashing liquid for cleaning and degreasing and getting rid of protective coatings before applying another coat of wax or paint sealers....this stuff is under rated as far as a good degreaser..and cheap stuff too.....
If you feel the need to use a good strong solvent based cleaner...such as Acetone,MEK...etc etc...make sure you have good ventilation,use a fan blowing the fumes away from you and have a well ventilated area to rid the fumes in your shop/garage quickly,the best way is to do it is outside with the fan blowing the fumes directly away from you.
ALWAYS use solvent/chemical safe gloves,solvents are absorbed through your skin and into your blood stream...the regular kitchen rubber gloves won't work,they'll just melt on your hands with solvents..lol
After using the solvent cleaner,wipe it all down with a little Dawn mixed in distilled water to rid any oil or grease left,then use a distilled water soaked rag to rid any film left.........
If you have any real experience at all in welding and fabrication,then you'll know just trying to grind the oil and grease with a grinder is useless...the grinding wheels,Grinding disks and sand paper just soaks up the oil and spreads it around and lubricates them..rendering them pretty much useless ..plus your just spreading the oil and grease around instead of getting rid of it............
Don't use ANY brake cleaner or carb cleaner before welding..these products are made for the purpose it's designated for ONLY..for a GOOD reason.
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The only Thing necessary for the Evil to win is a good man to do nothing....
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In the past, R12, also used as a propellant in aeresols, or something closely related chemically, would become poisonous like this, so I would speculate that its the propellant used in brakleen thats causing the issue here. Regardless, very dangerous stuff!