Printech Archive
Re: Non haz solvents

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From: Jeff Adrian (
Date: Thu Jun 24 1999 - 14:17:34 CDT

                      Re: Non haz solvents 6/24/99

The "answer" to your question is likely to be "that depends". Let me try to offer some thoughts here.

First, be clear about the "hazardous" designation. The 140 degree F threshold applies only to the EPA regulations for "Hazardous Waste" (characteristic). One would have to have a solvent blend with a flash point greater than 200 degrees F to avoid a DOT "hazardous" classifcation.

Second, note that there are commercially available solvent blends for blanket and press cleaning operations, but I believe it is fair to say that their performance is somewhat problematic in many typical pressrooms. One factor here may be the specific type of printing done at a given facility, especially related to the type of stock printed on and the nature of the end product (think prestigious or rather plain printing here). Put another way, how "fussy" is the cleanup operation given what is being printed.

By performance issues, our testing of these types of products revealed several problems, among them, excessive oilyness and consequent difficulty in complete removal once cleaning was completed. Also, certain components of these blends can present other usage problems. For example, Solv 150 is a pretty good "cutter" at approximately 149 degrees flash point, but its "heaviness of odor" with a "musty" characteristic can "hang in the air" (indoor air), and our experience has been that about half of the employees exposed to this odor find it revolting. This example did not become evident with initial test sampling of small quantities, but only after significant amounts were put into an expanded trial!

Third, a most important question here is what is the driver for change that you refer to in your posting? Is it to reduce total volumes of hazwaste going off-site? Is it due to VOC concerns with both indoor and outdoor air? Knowing the answer to these and any similar questions may better guide your choice of a solution (to the driver). For example, if the concern is driven by the first issue above, perhaps some form of in-house recovery and recycling will limit off-site shipments of hazwaste. If the driver is a question of VOCs, again recovery and good housekeeping procedures can help. And finally, if the question is related to employee exposure to certain chemicals, proper selection of low vapor pressure solvents combined with good procedural training may be much more achievable.

I hope this will get you thinking about the many possibilities, and will encourage you to re-post your question with additional details so that others may share more specific, and useful, experiences with you.

Jeff Adrian
The John Roberts Company
Brigette Martin wrote:
>Are there any offset printing operations using non hazardous blanket or >roller wash solvents (flash point of 140F or higher)?
>With pending shop towel regulations, we are under the gun to try some non >characteristic hazardous solvents.
>Brigette Martin
>Environmental Compliance Coordinator

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