Monday Moaning

The Trike Bath

No, it wasn’t for washing tricycles, although they could be de-greased in one. The Trike Bath was actually a de-greasing pool that we used to use as armourers in the Air Force when we were reconditioning weapons.

The dull glimmer of a Parkerised rifle

Metal parts were washed in the Trike Bath after sandblasting and before being Parkerised (the controlled external ‘rusting’ to prevent further corrosion or rusting). I was never a fan of the bluing or browning of firearms, but I loved the military Parkerised matt finish.

So, what was the Trike Bath?

It was trichloroethylene, TCE, an industrial solvent, whose toxic fumes could be breathed in or even permeate through the skin and known to cause liver damage.

Today I read this:

Study links Parkinson’s disease to industrial solvent

An international study has linked an industrial solvent to Parkinson’s disease.

Researchers found a six-fold increase in the risk of developing Parkinson’s in individuals exposed in the workplace to trichloroethylene (TCE).

Although many uses for TCE have been banned around the world, the chemical is still used as a degreasing agent.

The research was based on analysis of 99 pairs of twins selected from US data records.

Parkinson’s can result in limb tremors, slowed movement and speech impairment, but the exact cause of the disease is still unknown, and there is no cure.

Research to date suggests a mix of genetic and environmental factors may be responsible. A link has previously been made with pesticide use…

…The study also adjudged exposure to two other solvents, perchloroethylene (PERC) and carbon tetrachloride (CCl4 ), “tended towards significant risk of developing the disease”.

Source: BBC News Read more


Perchloroethylene or Tetrachloroethylene and Carbon Tetrachloride are both used in the dry-cleaning process for your clothes.

The whole picture just goes to show how our daily lives are at risk. The use of solvents is so commonplace and the dangers are not known to so many.

I remember when I was younger we had Carbon Tetrachloride at home and I used TCE in my home gun-smithing workshop for many years with no thought for ventilation.

Trichloroethylene was also widely popular and known as the preferred Brake Cleaner, although today there are safer alternatives.

You just never know…

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