First let’s define VOC. This is the acronym for Volatile Organic Compounds. Still confused? These are carbon compounds that evaporate at room temperatures, and these compounds react to light and are a major component of smog and ozone depletion. Live in the country and still not concerned? VOC levels have been targeted by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) for a range maladies from eye irritations to muscle weakness to possible cancer links. Some products like minerals spirits have an odor that makes this obvious. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) should define the amount of VOC each product contains. On the MSDS you will look for the VOC information and generally you will try to use products with the lowest number, with zero being the best alternative. Some jobs will work better with a higher VOC product, such as lacquer thinners to remove ink from screens and machines. It works fast because these products contain a high level of VOC. As local, state and federal agencies become more serious about reducing the VOC that is emitted into the environment, products have been developed that do the work almost as well with much lower or zero VOC level. Easiway has introduced EasiSolv C99 and EasiSolv C35 as low VOC press and screen washes. EasiSolv C29 is combination ink remover and stencil remover that is also very low VOC.
We always recommend working in well ventilated areas, wearing proper eye and skin protection and using lower VOC products when possible. Better products are being made to remove mineral spirits and paint thinners entirely from your shop environment when you start looking.
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