Volume XXI, Issue 4 - April 2024

Celebrating 30 years at BFK Solutions in 2024!

Chemical literacy is one cure for chemophobia – it’s also a sound way to grow your business. Chemical literacy can be fun. Contact BFK Solutions.

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Whether you love chemistry or not, learning about chemicals in our lives, and the impact on the immediate surroundings and the environment is paramount. BFK Newsletter is packed with very interesting, pertinent and relevant information. I am always looking forward to read the latest issue of the Newsletter. I highly recommend it. Get rid of Chemophobia.

Miguel Rodas 

Feature Article

Chemical Literacy

Barbara Kanegsberg & Ed Kanegsberg, BFK Solutions LLC

Chemophobia pervades our society. Should you fear 4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzaldehyde? Not in tiny amounts, not if you enjoy cookies. A shorter name is vanillin, the primary chemical in vanilla extract. We fear chemicals because they have complicated names and often have fancy structures.

Fear of an individual chemical leads to demonization of that chemical. Chemophobia leads to the conviction that eliminating a specific chemical will make the earth a better place where birdies chirp and flowers grow. It doesn’t always work that way. We humbly (or not so humbly) suggest that chemical literacy will result in effective regulations that still allow truly productive, sustainable manufacturing.

Chemophobia has steadily reduced the number of effective chemicals that can be used for critical cleaning. Chemicals used in manufacturing, like perchloroethylene or methylene chloride, must be used with care and respect. Starting in the mid-1980s, Ozone Depleting Compounds were taken out of use, certainly in the West; the results were judged beneficial. Over the years, chemical after chemical has been targeted, demonized, and either banned or heavily restricted. Of course, it is essential to protect workers, neighbors, and the world from safety and environmental threat. However, as we approach the quarter mark of the 21st century, it is apparent to us that eliminating all active chemicals from use is becoming a never-ending task. In manufacturing, nearly all useful chemicals, particularly those used in critical cleaning, are nearly certain to have some safety and environmental baggage. Currently, efforts to minimize or eliminate chlorinated and brominated solvents (EPA Amended TSCA) along with Federal and State efforts to control PFAS mean fewer effective choices for critical product cleaning. Changing the process often involves an enormous engineering effort, investment in capital equipment, and retraining of the workforce. The new process may not live up to all the promises in the glossy brochures; process change may require several iterations. All these iterations are associated with money, engineering, time, gnashing of teeth, and aggravation. What happens when the substitute chemicals are found to have worker exposure and/or environmental issues? Yup – another round of aggravation, process disruption, and investment in new capital equipment.

While chemical literacy is often thought of in the context of educating children, teens, and young adults, it ought to extend to everyone: manufacturers, private citizens, elected officials, members of regulatory agencies. Achieving comprehensive chemical literacy is likely to take a while. Requiring chemical literacy would require national if not global control. If we ruled the world, manufacturing could be perfect!  However …

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Aqueous Cleaning On-Demand Course

It has “… a good balance between teaching and demonstration of the concepts being taught.” The four-hour course features education, not sales hype. Learn at your own pace; gain Continuing Education Credits, and take advantage of the ½ hour discussion with a Product Quality Cleaning Workshop Instructor. The program is a great way to build chemical literacy; and It’s “more fun than a bubble bath.”

Register Here

PQCW Webinar: Navigate Solvent Regulations - Stay in Business!

Manufacturers are in challenging, frightening times. Sweeping, complex environmental regulatory activities lead seismic shifts in solvent availability, supply chain issues, and ability to manufacture. How do you stay in business? Attend “Navigating Solvent Regulations: A Reality Round Table on Future-Proofing Strategies.” The free, live-stream Product Quality Cleaning Workshop webinar is on May 7 at 10 A.M. Central and features the PQCW team of Darren Williams, Barbara Kanegsberg and Ed Kanegsberg, along with Jeff Davis and Shelley Lusas of Hubbard-Hall. We don’t have all the answers (no one does!), but we do have the experience and expertise to help you. Our insights will guide you continue to produce high quality, cost-effective product. Register; attend; ask us questions.

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PQCW Webinar: “A Path Forward for Solvent Cleaning”

Michael Onken of SAFECHEM will explain why solvent cleaning in an airless degreaser can be an excellent alternative to water-based cleaning, and how it can help achieve consistent and reliable cleaning results. Mike explains how the approach can cut costs, increase operational efficiency, support sustainability performance, and minimize worker exposure. The presentation will include case studies. Join the PQCW team on May 23 at 10 AM CDT as we ask Mike lots of questions (bring your own questions!). 

Register for the Zoom link

YouTube Cleaning Tidbits from PQCW

Gain the power to understand critical cleaning – painlessly, in your spare time. Check out “Clean Critically,” a video series on the Product Quality Cleaning Workshops channel. The PCQW team of Barbara and Ed Kanegsberg of BFK Solutions and Darren Williams of Sam Houston State University discuss topics that include technical advances, economic considerations, and safety/environmental regulatory issues that impact manufacturing and repair of product. Whatever you are involved in - metal pretreatment, aerospace/aeronautics, optics, electronic assemblies, medical devices – we think you will benefit from the programs. 

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Handheld XRF

Join the Surface Finishers Educational Association (SFEA) on May 9 for a presentation, "Basics and Demos of XRF Technology" by Steve Norris, Plasma Technology, Inc. and Pam Nafsinger, Thermo Scientific Portable Analytical Instruments. 

•How handheld XRF works

•Analytical capabilities Benefits of handheld XRF

•Review of various applications with focus on General Metals identification and chemical analysis

• Coating applications 

•Live demos for coatings and metals analysis

Register for the free Zoom meeting

BFK Solutions. – independent consultants and practical educators

Our decades of experience help you make productive decisions about your cleaning processes, your manufacturing processes, your business. Contact Ed and Barbara Kanegsberg with concerns about cleaning, surface quality, regulatory issues - we’ll get back to you and discuss your cleaning issue, whether or not we do a project together! Suggest a topic – we may write about it! 

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