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How to Avoid The Biggest Health Concerns When Working With Metalworking Fuids

How to Avoid The Biggest Health Concerns When Working With Metalworking Fuids

Jul 24th 2019

The main functions of metal working fluids are as follows:

  • cooling

  • lubrication

  • chip removal

  • preventing corrosion

  • Each type of fluid also has its own lists of specific properties that differ from the next.

    Perfluorinated solvents are repellent to water, dirt, and grease, making them perfect for certain mechanical jobs and tasks.

    These emulsifiable oils contain 30% to 80% of severely refined oils, making them able to disperse oil in water and useful for certain tasks requiring soluble oil.

    Semi-fluid oils on the other hand, only contain 5% to 30% of oil, and the rest is made up of either water and or additives like dyes, fragrances, and emulsifiers.

    As you can see, there are sharp differences in the individual compounds of metalworking fluids.

    It’s also curently a thriving market, and is expected to reach over 9 billion by the year 2020.

    With business booming now, many skilled laborers and now working with metalworking fluids.

    However, despite their popularity they can all cause some level of bodily harm when used incorrectly.

    Continue reading to learn what kind of damage industrial lubricants, synthetic oils, metalworking and cutting fluids can cause, and how to avoid these adverse effects.

    The Risks

    Just like any other job, working with metalworking fluids and perfluorinated solvents has its risks.

    Respiratory Issues

    When ventilation is poor while working with metalworking fluids, the possibility of inhaling toxic chemicals becomes very real.

    Avoid this by working in a well-ventilated and large room.

    Exposure, even on a microscopic level, can cause you to breath in these toxic chemicals that can lead to respiratory issues such as:

    • induced asthma

    • hypersensitivity pneumonitis

    • severe lung damage

    • coughing

    • wheezing

    • shortness of breath

    • deep cough

    • runny nose
    • Damage to the skin

      The damage can be topical, too. The risks include:

      • allergic reaction

      • inflamed hair follicles

      • cyctic acne

      • blisters

      • Avoid these risks by keeping up with your hygiene and discarding clothes that have been exposed to the metalworking oils.

        Terminal illnesses

        Terminal diseases like skin, throat, and bladder cancer are also major risks you run when handling metalworking fluids improperly.

        To mitigate these risks, you can keep oil soaked rags out of your pockets and limit your exposure as much as possible. Also, rinse your skin immediatly if you’ve been exposed to the metal working fluid.

        Other precautions

        There are some other precautions you can take against risks like cancer, asthma, and blisters. Obtain a Material Safety Data Sheet directly from the supplier you’re working with so you’re always ahead of the game.


        Working with perfluorinated solvents and metalworking fluids can cause moderate to severe harm inside and outside of your body.

        If you are concerned about developing some of these ailments in the workplace, follow the precautions set in place by working in a well-ventilated room and maintaining good hygiene.