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  1. #1

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    MEK is HEALTH HAZARD SOLVENT

    Hi Guys,

    I've posted this elsewhere on RC Universe Forums as I think it's important.

    Some people in the RC World are recommending using MEK as a cleaning solvent to remove gum or glue residue. Read this health hazard first!

    I'm posting this thread, as I nearly acquired some of this MEK solvent to remove glue left after pealing off masking tape. I would advise you to read on....

    The story starts with a visit to my local commercial printers. "Do you have any MEK (Methyl Ethyl Keytone)?". The answer was a frowning "Why?". This turned to a look of horror when I told them what I wanted it for. [X(]

    There is no doubting it's cleaning properties, as it is a high flash point solvent that does the job.

    BUT did you know it may cause damage to the nervous system and brain damage. Can be absorbed through the skin and air and if it gets into your eyes cause permanent damage. There is an argument that it may cause reproductive issues for humans following lab tests!!!! [:@]

    Methyl ethyl ketone is a flammable, colorless liquid with an acetone-like, sweet, pungent odor. It is soluble in four parts water and miscible with alcohol, ether, acetone, and benzene

    Synonyms: 2-Butanone; ethyl methyl ketone; MEK; Methyl acetone
    CAS No.: 78-93-3
    Molecular Weight: 72.11
    Chemical Formula: CH3COCH2CH3

    So back to the printer, "we dumped that product years ago and have a replacement that is more practicable......BLANKET WASH. Does exactly the same but doesn't have the health or fire risks associated with MEK and has a safer flashpoint and will evaporate off the surface".

    He then produced "Blanket Wash" for me to try. It does remove gum and glue residue and didn't have any effect on fibreglass cowl, epoxy resin/fibreglass skinned surface, base coat epoxy primer paint. I did wear a mask and gloves and am very pleased with the result. The solvent did dry off compeletly after a few minutes, first wiping off with a clean cloth.

    So Guy's if you want to know the facts about "Blanket Wash" try the link below. I have not used soysol- zapper, but included the link to explain the benefits of Blanket Wash as a comparison for use to MEK. I have no doubt there are many manufacturers of the same ingredient.

    I used a similar brand from my local printer and used less than half a tea cup to go over a 1/4 scale 100" model with a bucket load of sprayed panel lines. It removed the glue with considerable ease without damaging the model and my health!

    If you want a supplier, try your local printers? As with most disclaimers, this posting is for your information. You choose which is best and suited for your intended purpose. As Norm would say "Always read the instructions......."

    http://www.soysolv.com/zapper/index.htm

    METHYL ETHYL KETONE saftey notices and information:

    http://www.state.nj.us/health/eoh/rtkweb/1258.pdf#search='methyl%20ethyl%20ketone'

    http://www.nsc.org/library/chemical/Methyl_E.htm

    http://www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/hlthef/methylet.html


    A Merry Christmas to one and all.

  2. #2
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    RE: MEK is HEALTH HAZARD SOLVENT

    This is a very informative and worthwhile post. Thanks.

    Dope thinner and dope both contain MEK. It is by far the most toxic of the substances in dope. Use cautiously.




  3. #3

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    RE: MEK is HEALTH HAZARD SOLVENT

    I have found that WD-40 is really good for removing gummy glue residue.

  4. #4

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    RE: MEK is HEALTH HAZARD SOLVENT

    I have used M-E-K for years in doing auto painting. It is there most often known as synthetic thinner. As mentioned already, it is present in varying amounts in many, many solvents.

    My interest is why you are using such a harsh cleaner?

    For Acetone and Lacquer thinner are a bit weaker, and their properties well exceed the need for your project, and they are less aromatic. An equally good cleaner is TSP mixed with water. No vapours, but plenty of grease cutting and film removving properties.

    Wm.
    Thousands of Laser Cut parts, thousands
    And plans too

  5. #5
    ballgunner 's Avatar
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    RE: MEK is HEALTH HAZARD SOLVENT

    I've used MEK for a plastic solvent and to attach plastic parts to sail boat kits. I know of the hazards and use protective gloves and a respirator. You can't be too careful with MEK. If there is something else you can use without the health hazards, skip the MEK. I don't even open the container with out the respirator on. Worst part is that it is so easily available. You can buy it at ACE Hardware in quart cans.

  6. #6
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    RE: MEK is HEALTH HAZARD SOLVENT

    Check out this link:

    http://www.emedicine.com/neuro/topic285.htm

    Scary.

    (After you read this, you'll never paint again, and you'll be coloring your planes with a crayon!)

  7. #7

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    RE: MEK is HEALTH HAZARD SOLVENT

    Part of the reason you may get dirty looks about MEK and a number of other products is some less-than-legal use. MEK was very popular in the clandestine drug manufacturing world for a while and made it to the DEA watch list. There are other products that will accomplish your needs without some of the hazards and fewer raised eyebrows.

    On a related note, a hazardous material is defined as: any material or energy, in quantity and / or uncontained, which presents a hazard to life, property, or the environment.

    Water and the sun are both hazardous.

  8. #8

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    RE: MEK is HEALTH HAZARD SOLVENT

    If you are worried about MEK, don't even bother thinking about using gasoline for anything, like even as a fuel.

  9. #9

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    RE: MEK is HEALTH HAZARD SOLVENT

    I think there are a lot worse things added to gasoline than MEK to reduce pollution.......

    Ed M.
    Did you bother to Read The Fine Manual yet?

  10. #10

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    RE: MEK is HEALTH HAZARD SOLVENT

    I think there are a lot worse things added to gasoline than MEK to reduce pollution.......

    Ed M.
    Seems like an oxymoron, doesn't it? "Worse things being added to reduce a problem?" That's kind of like "Military Intelligence', isn't it?

  11. #11

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    RE: MEK is HEALTH HAZARD SOLVENT

    CoosBayLumber,

    The main reason for using MEK is the advantage of the Flashpoint and no degredation to paint and intricate scale detail work when trying to remove the adhesive residue left from masking tape.

    In another part of RC Universe Forum the same post was made by me and interesting how THIS forum is positive about MEK safety issues and the OTHER forum responses have been rather, to rubbish the health hazard as being over zealous to keep lawers from getting at your money and completely ignored the fact that there is a new product on the market to replace it, safety issues and all.

    My reason for posting this thread, was I'm a novice when it comes to solvents like MEK. When someone (commercial printers in US & Europe) who has been working with this stuff for years suddenly changes when something better comes along, isn't it good news for everyone to know?

    Anyway, as I said in the original post. Up to you what you use, but maybe your better informed than before and you can make your own minds up about over stating safety issues. It's not a product intended for the general public use and by some people who wouldn't think they need to wear at least eye protection! We all know at least one modeller who wouldn't be safe with a watering can, let alone this stuff.

  12. #12

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    RE: MEK is HEALTH HAZARD SOLVENT

    DED,

    I think it all depends on how you are going to use ANY solvent. SMALL amounts on a rag or paper towel............. unless you work in a closet with the doors closed or still use coal oil lamps for light...............should not pose a problem for the average person. I have yet to find a soy based solvent that can replace all my needs for HARSHER based solvents.

    That said, you are very correct that some individuals have special needs. We have folks allergic to everything from CA to peanut butter. For someone that might be allergic to Ketone based solvents soy products might be the best thing to happen since sliced bread, and for folks that have to use a solvent in the workplace 40 hours per week, less hazardous replacements are needed.

    Ed M.
    Did you bother to Read The Fine Manual yet?

  13. #13

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    RE: MEK is HEALTH HAZARD SOLVENT

    ORIGINAL: bentgear

    DED,

    I think it all depends on how you are going to use ANY solvent. SMALL amounts on a rag or paper towel............. unless you work in a closet with the doors closed or still use coal oil lamps for light...............should not pose a problem for the average person. I have yet to find a soy based solvent that can replace all my needs for HARSHER based solvents.

    That said, you are very correct that some individuals have special needs. We have folks allergic to everything from CA to peanut butter. For someone that might be allergic to Ketone based solvents soy products might be the best thing to happen since sliced bread, and for folks that have to use a solvent in the workplace 40 hours per week, less hazardous replacements are needed.

    Ed M.
    BentGear,

    Thanks for your support. As with everything in life, some people are more effected than others, while some don't see the need for caution (one reason why there are so many people killed on the roads and all cities world wide have A&E departments!!).

    Main issue with using MEK in our hobby, is that it is used neat 100% strength with a toothbrush as a scourer making easy contact with skin, eyes and inhaling. (Some people don't see the need for a face mask when sanding or painting when they should).

    I haven't seen anyone warn people of the correct way to use MEK before. Now they have a better idea how nasty this stuff is or an alternative "Blanket Wash".

    Happy New Year to everyone.


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