Volume XX, Issue 1 - January 2023
Welcome to the twentieth year, Volume XX, of Clean Source. Ironically, XX ( or No-No) also describes a confluence of circumstances that may make many essential cleaning agents unavailable or impractical. Not to worry, we’ll explain what’s going on and steps you can take right now to assure productive manufacturing.
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Interesting Times for Manufacturers
Barbara Kanegsberg and Ed Kanegsberg, BFK Solutions
“May you live in interesting times” is a thinly-veiled curse, one that no doubt resonates with manufacturers involved in critical product cleaning. In the United States, current interesting times arise from a confluence of multiple factors. One set of factors is the regulatory activities at the Federal and State level that impact PFAS “forever” chemicals. A second group encompasses regulatory activities under EPA Amended TSCA that is likely to restrict key cleaning chemicals. A third are business decisions reached by suppliers of cleaning chemistries in response to regulatory activities. Notably, 3M recently announced that they will discontinue manufacturing of all fluoropolymers, fluorinated fluids, and PFAS-based additive products. Some manufacturers doing critical cleaning in aerospace, medical, optics, and other high-value product have relatively recently invested time and effort to move to cleaning containing these or similar solvents. The reasoning being that the new processes would have fewer environmental restrictions than classic chlorinated or brominated solvents.
Living in interesting times is a curse. Understanding the details of these challenges to manufacturing is crucial to achieving a strategic response and perhaps to discovering productive opportunities. We’ll begin with forever chemicals, move on to other solvents, and conclude with a few steps you might consider.