How to (almost) kill yourself with brake cleaner

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by skierd, Jul 23, 2009.

  1. idahoskiguy

    idahoskiguy Long timer

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    WOW.......thank you for posting.

    A real wake up call.

    :deal
    #41
  2. AtlantaViking

    AtlantaViking Long timer

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    As a general rule, when I see organic compounds (carbon based stuff) I get more cautious when they are halogenated (chlorine, bromine, fluorine...). The more halogens the worse. Thats not to say I don't use caution with acetone and alcohols (methanol can ruin your day too) but halogens are just plane scary.

    I used to spray WD-40 (a good example, lots of others like it) with abandon. Organic chemistry was a great teacher - I'm alot more careful with it now and try to only use it outdoors and try like hell to not inhale it and wear gloves.

    Great post - and thx for bringing it on.
    #42
  3. B.Curvin

    B.Curvin Feral Chia tamer

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    :bow :bow :bow


    Thank you for the stories and link. I'm picking up a Miller Tig welder soon.

    I planned on using Acetone as a parts and filler rod cleaner because that's what

    my welding books suggest. Who knows what I might have grabbed in the garage

    if I ran out though.






    (I'll also quit washing my hands with Acetone :D )

    I used to build racing sailboats ~20 years ago. We washed up with Acetone everyday.

    Mercury in the garage as a kid etc etc. It's amazing most of us are here to tell the tale.

    I had a mercury thermometer blow up in my face once. :eek1
    #43
  4. Jonex

    Jonex zipper suited sun god

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    I used to work in a chemical plant and even with laminated Saranex suits and supplied air SCBA masks and such, day in and day out operations means exposure. You gotta take the suit off and there's stuff on it.

    Sure, you can go through the trouble of a proper decon but when you're all by yourself and nobody answers the radio and your elbows are sloshing full of sweat and you're dizzy from heat exhaustion from being in a poopy suit for 5 hours, you just want the dang thing off.

    I've been sprayed in the face with methyl tertiary butyl ether which gets into your fatty tissues and doesn't leave. I've hooked up a hose to a 50 psi 2" acetone or methanol or ether header and blasted down a whole room, my SCBA cartridge getting hot and smelling all kinds of iffy things right through it.

    I had to pull over on the way home from work for a projectile vomiting episode that struck instantly. Happened to other guys, too. We don't know what we got into.

    Nitrile gloves are for keeping your hands from looking dirty. They don't stop the wimpy acids and caustics we use in my cheese plant, so they aren't going to do much for acetone, MEK, etc. Better than nothing I guess.

    Those cheesy 1/2 masks they have at the box store aren't good for crap. I was issued one at the chem plant and I wore it for fit testing and never again. You can't get a good consistent seal at the nose bridge.

    I assume my Crohn's disease is likely from various exposures and cavalier attitudes to chemicals over the years.

    Be safe guys. Use good gloves and ventilation.

    Oh yeah - I was buying some epoxy paint the other day and they had MEK right on the shelf, next to the acetone.
    #44
  5. dentedvw

    dentedvw Where did I put that

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    I feel like projectile vomiting right now. :huh

    Cripes.
    #45
  6. mike-s

    mike-s 2 squeaky wheels

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    Shit, i don't think i'll EVER use carby cleaner as a makeshift start assistant ever again. I'll use the proper stuff if i need to use it at all.
    #46
  7. DR Donk

    DR Donk Been here awhile

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    This thread is a major eye opener! :eek1 I am of the mentality that if you can buy it at the local store it's relatively safe.............no more thinking that way. I printed out a copy of the article and gave it to the guys in the shop, they can be careless around cleaning solvents and everything else they work with.
    #47
  8. ttpete

    ttpete Rectum Non Bustibus

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    Years ago, I ran a vapor degreaser. It's a tank with steam coils at the bottom that are covered with trichlorethylene, which vaporizes from the heat. There's a cold water jacket around the top that condenses the vapors and keeps them in the tank. You lower greasy oily parts into the tank and the vapors condense on the metal and run off, taking the grease and oil with them. There's also a spray wand to help it along.

    I'd lower an engine block into it and get it as clean and hot as I could, then lower it into a vat of dip cleaner and watch it bubble and boil for a half hour. Then it went into another vat, this time mineral spirits, and finally back in the vapor tank for awhile. After that, it was sparkling clean.

    Before modern motor oils existed, there was a lot of trouble with sticky hydraulic lifters. My cure was to dump a couple of quarts of carbon tet in the crankcase and let the car run outside for an hour or so, then bring it in and change the oil and filter. Worked great.
    #48
  9. fxstbiluigi

    fxstbiluigi crash test dummy

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    I started working at a Ford dealership in about 1966 or so. They had what was called a 'Hot Tank' for cleaning engine blocks an such. It was a tank full of hot water and caustic soda (lye) Worked really well , kinda bit your nose when parts were removed and not nearly as dangerous as some other chemicals deemed less hazardous than lye. The same chemicals that have since been banned by the EPA .
    #49
  10. tgeliot

    tgeliot Topher

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    My ex used to be a goldsmith. Goldsmiths use extremely strong ammonia solutions for something (to put this in perspective, regular household "ammonia" is 3% ammonia, 97% water). Some guy did as you describe, and was knocked cold on the spot. He toppled over, of course spilling the ammonia all over the place. It was all the could do to drag him out and evacuate.
    #50
  11. tgeliot

    tgeliot Topher

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    How many people would get a truly safe supply of compressed air to breathe (think in terms of a facility that refills SCUBA tanks), and how many would just use the same air they use to drive their nail gun? That air contains microscopic droplets of oil and all kinds of other crap. They'd be substituting one danger for another.
    #51
  12. tgeliot

    tgeliot Topher

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    When I was a kid we had a carbon tet fire extinguisher. I shit you not. The carbon tet was long gone; it had been refilled with water, and we used it as a squirt gun.

    It looked just like this (lifted from the Wikipedia Carbon Tet page):
    [​IMG]
    #52
  13. ttpete

    ttpete Rectum Non Bustibus

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    Pyrene fire extinguisher.
    #53
  14. tgeliot

    tgeliot Topher

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    Yeah. Pyrene brand but it doesn't contain the chemical pyrene. Go figure.
    #54
  15. ttpete

    ttpete Rectum Non Bustibus

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    #55
  16. def

    def Ginger th wonder dog

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    I believe H+ is the most reactive.
    #56
  17. dolomoto

    dolomoto Destroyer of Motorcycles

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    I got a snootful of MEK a few years ago and thought I was going to die. I realized that and brake cleaner had no place in my home.

    My Dad was a Welder/Wireman at the GE plant in Salem, VA. He retired after 33 years (100% disability and a litany of health issues)...he's told stories of dumping barrels of PCB-containing waste into the creek behind the plant. It was legal, they had a permit!

    I'm cautious/paranoid around chemicals nowadays.

    Occasionally, we'll get a noob at work and play a nice joke on him. We'll break a bunch of Cyalume sticks, spread the contents on the ground below the radar antenna and tell him the SF6 tank overheated (again!). It can be nasty if it really happened...always good for a laugh as the noob runs for his life.
    :deal
    #57
  18. tgeliot

    tgeliot Topher

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    #58
  19. mike-s

    mike-s 2 squeaky wheels

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    We have Halon fire extinguishers in every corridor of our unit block, which is a bit of a worry considering they stopped making them here in 1997 (Reference chart). I am 95% certain that NONE of the safety tests (further down on the linked page) have ever been done.
    #59
  20. 9Dave

    9Dave Bazinga!

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    I stumbled across the "how to kill yourself with brake cleaner" article on a different site.

    Definitely scary stuff, not just in welding. I met a plumber that did somewhat the same thing with a torch.

    Let's everyone stay careful out there. :deal
    #60