Solvent Vapors: Dangerous and Avoidable

Industrial manufacturers have many adhesive options to choose from, and while it is common to compare the ease, efficiency, and cost of these options, a recent Harvard study suggests manufacturers should take another factor into account: the health and safety of their employees.

Dr. Sabbath, a head researcher on the project, reported:

“People with high exposure [to solvents] within the last 12 to 30 years showed impairment in almost all areas of memory and thinking, including those not usually associated with solvent exposure. But what was really striking was that we also saw some cognitive problems in those who had been highly exposed much longer ago, up to 50 years before testing. This suggests that time may not fully lessen the effect of solvent exposure on some memory and cognitive skills.”

As decision-making and critical thinking are important components of a successful employee, this outcome is bad for both the individual and for the company as a whole.

Solvents exist in many products, but one of the most prolonged and prominent is in adhesives. Solvent-based adhesives use solvents to allow adhesive to flow and keep adhesives from drying out. When the adhesive is applied, the solvent quickly evaporates, allowing the solids in the adhesive to quickly set and harden. As anyone who has stood over an open bottle of isopropyl alcohol knows,  evaporated solvent has a strong smell and can pack a punch when inhaled.

Luckily, there are quality alternatives to solvent adhesives. Some hot melt adhesives provide the quick set and strong bonds of solvent adhesives without the need for solvents as they set through the cooling of melted thermoplastics.  Water based glues have the convenience of ambient application, and are tailored to handle a variety of applications, from holding paper together without fiber-tear, to door construction.

At Glue Machinery, we don’t carry solvent adhesives. We carry a wide range of hot melt, PUR hot melt and cold glue options, machinery, and equipment. With Glue Diligence, we will help you determine the correct adhesive and application method to efficiently produce the highest quality product at the lowest possible price, all without sacrificing the health of your employees. Contact us, or browse our selection of hot melt and cold glue options to see how you can remove solvents from your manufacturing process.


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