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Halogenated Waste Disposal

Kooperationsstelle Hamburg IFE > Cleantool > Parts cleaning > Agents > Halogenated solvents

Halogenated solvents

Halogenated refers to a chemical compound or mixture that contains halogen atoms, i.e. fluorine, chlorine, bromine, or iodine. Bonding to carbon the halogens form a class of compounds called covalent halides, i.e. they are not electroylytic in nature. Some other terms for these compounds are halocarbons (halogenated hydrocarbons), chlorocarbons and chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s, a class of molecules containing chlorine, fluorine, and carbon).

Chlorinated solvents include the following: chloroform, chlorobenzene, trichloroethylene, carbon tetrachloride, chlorinated fluorocarbons, methylene chloride (dichloromethane), tetrachloroethylene (perchloroethylene), 1, 1, 1-trichloroethane (methyl chloroform, chlorothene). There used to be many industrial and commercial applications for the halogenated solvents due to their excellent ability to dissolve oils, their fast evaporation rates and their chemical stability (they are not flammable). Major uses in cleaning were e.g. as dry cleaning fluids, degreasing solvents, electrical cleaning solvents, inks and paint strippers. Solvent wastes are often segregated into halogenated and non-halogenated waste because it costs more to dispose of halogenated materials and because halogenated wastes are sometimes incompatible with other wastes.

Because halogenated organic solvents are often environmental and health hazards and even human carcinogens, the use in open applications has been banned worldwide. However in the view of several cleaning experts the application of perchloroethylene (PER, PERC) in modern sophisticated air tight plants is still useful for especially difficult cleaning problems, because high quality results can be achieved for very complex geometries with minimum energy input at short process times.

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