Is your metalworking fluid giving you cancer?

Fuchs Lubricants has made a public announcement to guarantee the safety of its metalworking fluids, after reports from the US that some brands contain biocides which have been found to contain a carcinogen that causes cancer in humans.

“A large number of popular metalworking fluids currently on the Australian market contain biocides,” said Rob Hughes, commercial sales manager of Fuchs Lubricants (Australasia).

In June this year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services listed formaldehyde – a key ingredient in metalworking fluid biocides – as a known human cancer causing carcinogen, Hughes said.

According to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services; “There is now sufficient evidence from studies in humans to show that individuals with higher measures of exposure to formaldehyde are at increased risk for certain types of rare cancers, including nasopharyngeal (the nasopharynx is the upper part of the throat behind the nose), sinonasal, as well as a specific cancer of the white blood cells known as myeloid leukemia.”

Hughes says although biocides are prevalent in cutting fluids, there are some options available on the market that don’t contain this dangerous element.

“Biocides are often a necessary evil when dealing with water miscible cutting fluids, as they are required to kill the bacteria and fungi growing in the baths,” said Hughes.

“Without biocides, the baths spoil and need to be cleaned, and the fluid needs to be replaced. Biocides are also very expensive products, and add hidden costs to water miscible metalworking fluids.

“The best solution is to use a water miscible cutting fluid that does not contain a biocide and is biostatic. The natural chemistry of a biostatic product makes it very difficult for bacteria to gain a foothold in the cutting fluid bath and flourish.”

Fuchs’ supplies a Biocide-free coolant, Ecocool 700 NBF, which is free of both formaldehyde and biocide.

“Ecocool 700 NBF is biostatic, giving the product an extremely long sump life, and saving the customer money, as baths containing Ecocool 700 NBF do not need to be changed out frequently,” said Hughes. 

“In addition, Ecocool 700 NBF is also extremely low foaming and does not require antifoam.”

Ecocool 700 NBF is suitable for a wide range of metalworking applications such as cutting and grinding. 

The product reportedly has a wide compatibility with different metal types, is suitable for use with more grades of Aluminum and yellow metals, and can handle heavy duty cutting such as stainless steel.