Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Brake cleaner spray

Best brake cleaner spray

You’ll need brake cleaner spray when you do a brake job. It’s an essential tool to remove old brake grease and brake dust accumulation. There are two basic types to choose from; chlorinated and non-chlorinated.

Chlorinated versus non-chlorinated brake cleaner spray

Photo of can of chlorinated CRC Brakleen brake cleaner

Chlorinated brake cleaner spray

Both types of brake cleaner spray contain toxic chemicals and chlorinated cleaners contain a high volume of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s). According to the EPA, VOCs pollute the environment in the form of gaseous emissions that can cause serious side effects in humans and animals. These side effects include headaches, nausea, loss of coordination, kidney and liver damage, and some cancers. As a result, chlorinated brake cleaners are no banned in California.

Chlorinated brake cleaner

Chlorinated brake cleaner sprays typically contain Trichloroethylene (also called Perchloroethylene (Perc), Methylene Chloride (MeCl), and are considered Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). They are high-performing solvents that are non-flammable and fast drying. Perchloroethylene is the main ingredient used by dry cleaners to clean clothes. Chlorinated brake cleaner sprays are valued because they are non-flammable and do a very good job of removing grease and brake dust.

While a chlorinated solvent may be toughest on grime, non-chlorinated alternatives are still much more powerful than water-detergent solutions, especially on paint and other substances

Non-chlorinated brake cleaner

Non-chlorinated brake cleaner sprays typically contain

non chlorinated brake clenaer spray

non chlorinated brake clenaer spray

Methanol, Acetone,

Toluene, 3-Methylhexane, n-Heptane, Methylcyclohexane, Cyclohexane, Ethylbenzene, isopropyl alcohol, and other low-toxicity petroleum hydrocarbons, such as mineral spirits or toluene. These cleaners are flammable and users must use them with caution and avoid open flames.

Brake cleaner spray health issues

Health issues associated with chlorinated brake cleaner sprays

Tetrachloroethylene (PERC) is considered highly toxic. It is a Group 2A carcinogen. It can enter the body through respiratory or skin exposure. At high temperatures (such as sparks) Tetrachloroethylene turns into extremely deadly Phosgene gas, which is a chemical weapon that kills in very low concentrations.

When Methylene Chloride is inhaled, it can cause difficulty concentrating, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, headaches, numbness, weakness, and irritation of the upper respiratory tract and eyes. More severe consequences can include suffocation, loss of consciousness, coma, and death.

Methylene Chloride may also be carcinogenic, as it has been linked to cancer of the lungs, liver, and pancreas in laboratory animals. In people with pre-existing heart problems, exposure to Methylene Chloride can cause abnormal heart rhythms and/or heart attacks, sometimes without any other symptoms of overexposure.

Health issues associated with non-chlorinated brake cleaner sprays

Heptane is toxic. Acute exposure to heptane vapors can cause dizziness, stupor, lack of coordination, loss of appetite, nausea, dermatitis, chemical pneumonitis, or unconsciousness.

N-Hexane is even more flammable than Heptane and tends to linger in workspaces creating potentially explosive vapor. n-Hexane’s greatest problem, however, is its neurotoxicity. Workplace exposure has been shown to cause nerve damage in humans. It is particularly common in vehicle mechanics. Long-term exposure to the chemical can lead to permanent numbness, tingling, weakness, and reduced sensitivity.

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