All reports are included in full except where the appendices are too large to publish online. In these cases they are noted as not including appendices. Full documents including appendices can be obtained by contacting IRTA by phone or by email.
Safe Alternatives for the Chemical, Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Industries: Paint Manufacturing Tank Cleaning -- March 2012 (no appendices)
This project was sponsored by U.S. EPA and Cal/EPA's Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). Paint manufacturers are part of the chemicals industry and there are many such manufacturers in California. This report focuses on a hypothetical manufacturer of waterborne paints. This report investigated the feasibility and cost of adopting alternatives to methylene chloride for cleaning the paint tanks between manufacturing runs. It examined approaches, processes and cleaners that could be used in place of the toxic solvent. The results indicated the lowest cost option is to use a pressure washer with plain water for the tank cleaning shortly after manufacturing the paint batch.
Safer Alternatives to Copper Antifouling Paints: Nonbiocide Paint Options -- February 2012 (no appendices)
This project was sponsored U.S. EPA and Cal/EPA's Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). IRTA investigated nonbiocide paint alternatives to copper antifouling paints that are widely used on boat hulls. The research included testing a range of new and emerging nonbiocide paints on panels. It also involved testing methods of reducing the cost and complexity of using the nonbiocide paints. Methods that were analyzed included alternative hull stripping technologies, rolling the paint on, applying the paint over existing copper paint and cleaning the nonbiocide paints less frequently. IRTA also investigated the possibility of copper recycling for boat yards. As part of the project, IRTA arranged the painting of 10 boats of various kinds using some of the emerging paints and alternative application methods. The results indicated that several of the emerging paints are very promising and that rolling the paint on and applying the paint over copper can reduce the cost of the paint job significantly. The results also indicated that copper recycling has potential for boat yards.
Safer Alternatives for the Chemical, Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Industries: Screening Tests of Alternatives -- September 2011 (no appendices)
This project was sponsored by U.S. EPA and Cal/EPA's Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). There may be more than 1,200 chemical manufacturing facilities in California and many of them use solvents to clean reactor tanks and associated equipment like process hoses. This project involved conducting tests of a range of low-VOC, low toxicity alternatives. IRTA worked with AMPAC Fine Chemicals, a progressive pharmaceutical company, to develop a test protocol and test the alternatives on three soils that would typically encountered. The results indicated that two alkaline water-based cleaners, soy and propylene carbonate performed well on some of the soils.
Safer Alternatives for the Chemical, Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Industries: Process Hose Cleaning -- September 2011 (no appendices)
This project was sponsored by U.S. EPA and Cal/EPA's Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). There may be more than 1,200 chemical manufacturing facilities in California and many of them use solvents to clean reactor tanks and associated equipment like process hoses. This project involved analyzing the feasibility and cost of reducing the use of solvents used today and converting to safer cleaning materials for hypothetical small and large process hose cleaning operations. Six options for reducing solvent use, including on- and off-site recycling and reutilization, were examined. Four options for eliminating solvent use, including converting to water based cleaners, were examined. In general, reducing or eliminating the use of solvents results in substantial cost savings.
Developing a California Inventory for Industrial Applications of Perfluorocarbons, Sulfur Hexafluoride, Hydrofluorocarbons, Nitrogen Trifluoride, Hydrofluoroethers and Ozone Depleting Substances -- March 2011 (no appendices)
This project was sponsored by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Under AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act, CARB is responsible for developing an inventory of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in California. The project focused on estimating emissions of GHGs for 2010 and projecting emissions of GHGs for 2020 in two categories: solvents and fire protection systems. GHG emissions were estimated for three solvent applications including film cleaning, vapor degreasing and disk lubing. GHG emissions were estimated for two fire protection applications including total flooding systems and portable fire extinguishers. In both categories, GHG emissions are projected to decline over the 10 year period.
Safer Alternatives to Copper Antifouling Paints for Marine Vessels -- January 2011 (no appendices)
This project was sponsored by U.S. EPA and the Port of San Diego. Copper paints have been used on recreational boats for many years to protect against boat hull fouling which can cause hull damage and increase fuel usage. Copper from the paints exceeds water quality standards in many basins and marinas in California. This three year project involved conducting panel testing on 46 alternative non-copper biocide and non-biocide paints and testing 11 of the best performing paints on the boats. It also involved performing a cost analysis and comparison of copper and alternative paints. The results indicated that alternative biocide paints will be more costly to use over the life of the paint. Some of the alternative non-biocide paints are comparable in cost to copper paints over the life of the paint.
Safer Alternatives for the Textile Cleaning Industry: Alternative Spotting Agents and Evaluation of Improvements in Carbon Dioxide and Wet Cleaning Technologies --November 2009 (no appendices)
This project was sponsored by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. IRTA tested alternatives to trichloroethylene, the major spotting chemical used today. A total of four water-based cleaners and two soy based cleaners tested during this project and a previous project were found to be effective and lower cost options. IRTA tested two alternative methods of drying garments that would make finishing with water-based processes less labor intensive. One of these technologies, a vacuum washing/drying system using hydrogen peroxide, was found to be promising. More testing with a prototype unit should be conducted before it could be commercialized.
Laser Strip: A Portable Hand-Held Laser Stripping Device for Reducing VOC, Toxic and Particulate Emissions - December 2009 (no appendices)
This project was conducted under a grant by the California Air Resources Board of the California Environmental Protection Agency under the Innovative Clean Air Technology Program (ICAT.) This project involved testing and demonstrating a portable laser device in four stripping applications where such a laser system could be used. The laser successfully stripped a variety of different paints applied to a range of substrates. The project also included performing a cost analysis of using a laser for stripping in the four applications and comparing the cost of using the device to the cost of using the most commonly used conventional stripping method. The results indicate that the laser stripping technology holds promise for some applications. (NOTE: The document contains several references to millimeters of coating thickness. This is an error and all references to millimeters should instead be references to mils. A mil is defined as 25.4 millimeters or 1/1000th of an inch.)
Alternatives to Toxic, VOC, Ozone Depleting and Global Warming Energized Electrical Equipment Cleaners -August 2009- (no appendices)
This project was sponsored by US EPA Region IX. It focused on developing and testing safer alternative methods for cleaning energized electrical equipment. Historically, halogenated solvents have been used for cleaning both energized and non-energized electrical equipment. These solvents contribute to ozone depletion, global warming or are carcinogens or reproductive toxins. The findings indicate that for non-energized electrical equipment cleaning, any process or non-halogenated material can be used. Alternatives that were tested included water-based cleaners, soy based cleaners and acetone cleaners. For cleaning mechanism cabinets, with a small residual current, water-based and acetone cleaners can be used as long as workers clean carefully. A carbon dioxide cleaning method called the Sno-Gun was effective for removing dust from these cabinets. Insulators and other energized electrical equipment can be cleaned with a variety of alternatives including; high-pressure deionized water, corn cob or limestone blasting and carbon dioxide pellet blasting. The alternatives that were identified, developed and demonstrated during this project are much safer from a health and environmental standpoint than the halogenated solvents.
Safer Alternative Thinners, Cleanup Materials, Coatings and Sanding Methods in the Autobody Industry
This project was sponsored by Cal/EPA's Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). There may be as many as 8,000 autobody shops in California and nearly all are small businesses. IRTA recruited seven autobody facilities to work on pollution prevention measures during the project and used information on two additional shops from earlier projects. The project focused in four areas:
The results of the project demonstrate that low-VOC, low toxicity alternative cleanup materials and thinners based on acetone are effective. The results also highlight the successful conversion to waterborne base coats for two of the participating facilities. The alternative sanding technology that minimizes dust generation was tested in three facilities and two of the facilities adopted the technology.
AB998 Non-Toxic Dry Cleaning Incentive Program: Demonstration of Safer Technologies for the Textile Cleaning Industry
This project was sponsored by the California Air Resources Board under a program established by Assembly Bill 998. The project featured five textile cleaning facilities that had converted to or adopted water-based or carbon dioxide alternatives to perchloroethylene (PERC). The document includes cost analysis for three of the facilities that have been using the alternative technologies for more than one year. IRTA held showcase events at four of the five participating facilities during the project and arranged and held an EXPO at Southern California Edison's CTAC facility. IRTA developed a fact sheet on safer alternative spotting chemicals based on research performed in an earlier project sponsored by Cal/EPA's Department of Toxic Substances Control and EPA.
Tert-Butyl Acetate: Safer Alternatives in Cleaning and Thinning Applications -2007 (No Appendices)
This project was sponsored by U.S. EPA Region 9. Tert-Butyl Acetate (TBAC) has been designated as exempt from VOC regulations by EPA. It forms a metabolite called tert-butyl alcohol (TBA) that is a carcinogen. This document describes and analyzes safer alternatives to TBAC in cleaning and thinning applications. Safer alternatives include acetone and acetone blends, water-based cleaners and soy based cleaners. The results indicate that there is no reason to exempt TBAC from VOC regulations in California.
Low-VOC, Low Toxicity Alternatives for Consumer Product Cleanup and Thinning Solvents - 2007 (No Appendices)
This project was sponsored by Cal/EPA's Department of Toxic Substances Control. It involved working with wood furniture refinishers, autobody shops, architectural contractors and various manufacturers of metal parts. Low-VOC safer alternatives were tested for cleaning up coating application equipment like spray guns, brushes and rollers and for thinning the coatings. Alternatives that performed well and were cost-effective included acetone, water-based cleaners and soy based cleaners.
Spotting Chemicals: Alternatives to Perchloroethylene and Trichloroethylene in the Textile Cleaning Industry - 2007 (No Appendices)
This project was sponsored by Cal/EPA's Department of Toxic Substances Control and US EPA. This project involved working with seven textile cleaning facilities that have adopted alternatives to PERC in dry cleaning. IRTA identified and developed safer spotting agents. Spotting agents that are used currently include trichloroethylene (TCE) and PERC. These chemicals are carcinogens and TCE is a VOC. The safer alternatives include water-based cleaners, soy based cleaners and acetone based cleaners. The cost analysis indicates that the alternatives are less costly than the spotting agents used today.
Automotive Aerosol Cleaning Products; Low-VOC, Low Toxicity Alternatives - 2006 (No Appendices)
This project was sponsored by Cal/EPA's Department of Toxic Substances Control. The project involved working with 10 auto repair facilities in the southern California area to assist them in converting away from toxic and high VOC aerosol cleaners for at least a three month period. Facilities decided to convert to various alternatives including spray bottles using water-based cleaners instead of aerosols, water-based brake cleaning systems in place of aerosols and alternative water-based, vegetable based and acetone low-VOC aerosols developed by IRTA. The results demonstrated that auto repair shops can convert to low-VOC, low toxicity alternatives.
Assessment, Development and Demonstration of Alternatives to VOC-Emitting Lubricants, Vanishing Oils and Rust Inhibitors - 2006 (No Appendices)
This project was sponsored by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). It involved working with eight facilities to test low-VOC alternatives to vanishing oils and high VOC rust inhibitors. The document combines the results of the testing during the SCAQMD project and an earlier project sponsored by EPA (see 2004 EPA project below). The EPA project involved working with five facilities to identify, test and demonstrate alternative low-VOC lubricants. The results of the two projects indicate that alternative water-based and vegetable based products are viable and cost effective. The SCAQMD is considering developing a regulation on the industry.
Assessment, Development and Demonstration of Alternatives for Five Emerging Solvents - 2006 (No Appendices)
This project was sponsored by HESIS and U.S. EPA. The project involved evaluating and demonstrating safer alternatives for five solvents that are known or likely to be toxic. These include decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5), parachlorobenzotrifluoride (PCBTF), n-propyl bromide (NPB), 1,2-trans-dichloroethylene (DCE) and N-methyl pyrrolidone (NMP). In each case, IRTA focused on the applications where the solvent is used widely or was likely to expose consumers, workers or community members.
Methylene Chloride Consumer Product Paint Strippers: Low-VOC, Low Toxicity Alternatives - 2006 (No Appendices)
DTSC contracted with IRTA to identify, test, develop and demonstrate alternative non-METH stripping formulations in consumer product applications. The aim of the project was to find safer alternative non-METH strippers that minimized the increase in VOC emissions.
This project involved testing alternative non-METH stripping formulations in four sectors including:
large furniture stripping companies that use equipment to apply stripper;
small furniture stripping companies that apply stripper by hand;
contract stripping companies that strip on-site and apply stripper by hand; and
Assessment, Development and Demonstration of Low-VOC Materials for Cleaning Ultraviolet and electron beam curable coatings and adhesives - 2006 (no Appendices)
In this project, IRTA identified, tested and demonstrated alternative low-VOC materials and methods for cleaning ultraviolet (UV) and electron beam (EB) curable coating and adhesive application equipment. Four facilities participated in the project. The first facility, Sandberg Furniture, is a major wood furniture manufacturer. The company uses UV curable coatings in a flat wood coating operation. The second facility, Medtronic Diabetes, is a medical device manufacturer. Medtronic has several operations that use UV curable adhesives. The third facility, DRS Sensors & Targeting Systems, is an aerospace facility that uses a UV curable conformal coating for electronic devices. The fourth facility, Huhtamaki, applies an EB clear coating to consumer packaging.
Low-VOC, Low Toxicity Cleanup Solvents for Screen Printing: Safer Alternatives - 2006 (No appendices)
The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) contracted with IRTA to work with three screen printers to identify, test, develop and demonstrate alternative low toxicity, low-VOC cleanup materials. In an earlier project, sponsored by Cal/EPA’s Department of Toxic Substances Control and U.S. EPA, IRTA worked with nine screen printers to demonstrate alternatives. In the SCAQMD project, IRTA worked with three textile printers. The printers that participated in the two projects used a range of different inks and printed on a variety of different substrates. This report summarizes the results of both projects.
Assessment, Development and Demonstration of Low-VOC Materials for Cleaning of Lithographic Printing Ink Application Equipment - 2006 (No appendices)
In two four year projects, IRTA worked with 21 lithographic printing facilities in the South Coast Basin to identify, test and demonstrate alternative low-VOC, low toxicity on-press cleaners. The projects were sponsored by SCAQMD, Cal/EPA’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and U.S. EPA. This document reports the results of the projects.
The Printing Industries Association of Southern California assisted IRTA in identifying facilities that would be willing to participate in the project. A range of facilities was selected so the test results would be applicable to the industry as a whole. IRTA conducted preliminary testing to screen alternative cleaners that might be appropriate for field testing. IRTA initially performed tests on one or more printing presses, generally a number of times, to identify potential effective cleaners. When effective cleaners were found, IRTA provided a week’s supply of the alternatives for testing. Extended testing was conducted in seven of the facilities to observe longer-term effects of the alternative cleaners. For these facilities, IRTA provided at least three months of the alternative cleaners for testing. IRTA performed cost analysis and comparison of the alternative cleaners and the current cleaners used by the facilities.
Evaluation of New and Emerging Technologies for Textile Cleaning - 2005
This project was sponsored by the California Air Resources Board and U.S. EPA. It involved conducting a technology assessment of the alternative processes to perchloroethylene (PERC) dry cleaning. PERC is classified as a suspect carcinogen and it is being increasingly regulated in California. The alternatives that were evaluated in the project include hydrocarbon, Pure Dry, Green Earth, glycol ether, traditional wet cleaning, icy water, Green Jet and carbon dioxide. IRTA focused on 14 case studies of cleaners that had adopted the alternative technologies. Nine of these plants converted from PERC to the alternative and five started up using the alternative. IRTA analyzed the performance and cost of the alternatives and compared them to the plants’ costs prior to conversion.
Hydrocarbon Technology Alternatives to Perchloroethylene for Dry Cleaning - 2005 (No Appendices)
This project was sponsored by Cal/EPA's Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC.) IRTA analyzed the performance and cost of seven dry cleaners using the hydrocarbon process. IRTA presents cost comparison data for Perchloroethylene (PERC) and hydrocarbon dry cleaning for five of the facilities. IRTA presents cost data for hydrocarbon dry cleaning for the remaining two facilities. The results of the cost analysis indicate that the cost of using hydrocarbon is comparable to the cost of using PERC.
Safer Alternatives to Solvent Aerosol Automotive Cleaning Products - 2004 (No Appendices)
The Hazard Evaluation System and Information Services (HESIS) contracted with IRTA to identify and test alternative safer water-based aerosol cleaning products. The focus was on developing and testing alternative aerosol cleaners for four categories of automotive cleaning including engine degreasing, carburetor and fuel injection system cleaning, brake cleaning and general purpose degreasing. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) also contracted with IRTA to conduct a related project that involved investigating low-VOC, low toxicity alternatives and the research and testing for the HESIS project were expanded and enhanced. The reports prepared for CARB can be accessed on their website at http://www.arb.ca.gov/homepage.htm
Assessment, Development and Demonstration of Low-VOC Cleaning Systems for South Coast Air Quality Management District Rule 1171 (Executive Summary) - 2003
In order to help develop low- or non-VOC technologies to comply with the provisions of SCAQMD Rule 1171 and to satisfy the AQMP’s goals, the District contracted with IRTA. Under the contract, IRTA investigated and tested low- and non-VOC alternatives in a variety of cleaning processes. The aim was to identify technologies that could be substituted for high VOC technologies used today in many types of cleaning. A link to the full report is on SCAQMD's website at http://www.aqmd.gov/rules/support.html#r1171
Alternatives to VOC Emitting Petroleum Based Lubricants and Chlorinated Paraffin Lubricants - 2004 (No Appendices)
This project was sponsored by U.S. EPA under the Environmental Justice Pollution Prevention program. The aim of the project was to investigate, test and demonstrate alternatives to petroleum based VOC emitting lubricants and lubricants containing chlorinated paraffin additives. VOC emitting lubricants are petroleum based vanishing oils and lubricants that are diluted with VOC solvents. IRTA found effective alternatives for the eight facilities that participated in the project.
Development of Safer Cleaning Alternatives in the Aerospace, Printing and Coating Industries - 2004 (No Appendices)
Under EPA sponsorship, IRTA conducted this project in Southern California to test and demonstrate low-VOC, low toxicity alternatives in three cleaning categories:
Aerospace Handwipe Cleaning;
Coating and Adhesive Application Equipment Cleaning; and
Printing Application Equipment Cleaning
Effective alternatives were found in all of these applications.
Alternatives to Perchloroethylene Vapor Degreasing for Plating Operations: Case Study Conversions - 2003
During the project, IRTA worked with five plating companies that had relied on PERC for their cleaning needs for many years. These companies adopted alternatives and IRTA prepared case studies that could be used by other similar companies or companies with similar operations as examples of successful conversions.
Alternative Adhesives Technologies: Foam Furniture and Bedding Industries (A Cleaner Technologies Substitutes Assessment) - 2003
You may access the three volume draft final report for the USEPA's Design for the Environment Program at the link above.