BaP free Cutting oils

 BaP free Cutting oils

PAHs and BaP: what consequences for the metal working industries?

You will have heard of PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) and BaP (benzo[a]pyrene) and their possible harmfulness to the work environment, but what do these terms really mean?

Before the use of coal, oil and natural gas as sources of energy, PAHs came mainly from natural phenomena such as forest and prairie fires. Today, human activity is considered as the major source of PAHs in the environment, notably due to industrial effluent, exhaust from diesel engines, household waste incinerators, heating.

In industry, it is PAHs linked to the use of petroleum-derived products such as process oils that are being observed most closely. For metal-working operations, the lubricant can be subject to severe conditions of use. Several parameters can influence the formation of PAHs:

  • Temperature (600-800 °C)
  • Concentration of aromatics
  • Oxygen deficit
  • Presence of metallic particles

The tables of occupational diseases 16b and 36b of the health service recognise cancers linked to exposure to derivatives of petroleum, tar, oils and coal tar and to soot from burning coal.

Thus, according to the regulations in force (Directive 67/548/EC and Regulation CLP 1208/2010/EC), to avoid being classed as hazardous, base oils must have a PAH concentration lower than the threshold defined by standard IP 346, namely a DMSO extract of < 3%.

PAHs, also called polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, form a family of numerous compounds (benzo[a]pyrene, anthracene, naphthalene…). 16 PAHs are routinely analysed and are considered as priorities for their hazards. One of the most toxic and best known is BaP benzo[a]pyrene. It serves as a tracer for the analysis of PAHs because it is representative of the danger of PAHs: the concentration in PAHs is 10 times that of BaP.

In consequence, the French health insurance authority issued a recommendation, reference R.451, concerning the “Prevention of chemical risks caused by cutting fluids”. It reiterates the data supplied by INRS on the risks and thresholds linked to BaP for “neat” cutting fluids:

  • mineral oils coming from petroleum distillation
  • synthetic oils from the chemical industry
  • vegetable oils

“Soluble” oils, those which emulsify in water, are not concerned by BaP monitoring.

The INRS advice reported in the recommendations followed by Carsat R.451 is:

  • less than 30 µg/kg BaP in “new” lubricant, delivered by your supplier and before use.
  • less than 100 µg/kg BaP in lubricant in use

In fact, with the machining process, the level of BaP can rise quickly, obliging manufactures to increase the frequency of oil changes. To know if the products you use respect the European regulations, you must consult section 11 of the Safety Data Sheet. The mention relating to PAHs is generally presented in the following format: “Carcinogenicity: it is not assumed to present a dermal carcinogenic potential, in that the percentage w/w of DMSO extractable compounds is < 3%. (IP 346 method).”

“The health insurance recommendations also indicate that monitoring neat oils should also allow a guarantee that they keep their technical characteristics throughout their use but also that their degradation does not lead to an increase in their hazardous nature (…). It is recommended that company directors define a method for monitoring oils and thus be able to ensure regular maintenance of oil baths (analysis of the oil or possible change of bath)” (Extract R451 from the French Health Insurance authority). By monitoring the level of BaP contained in oils in service, manufacturers can thereby ensure good prevention for their operators.

How to verify the level of BaP in lubricants used?

It is possible to carry out the analyses in a laboratory adapted to the products analysed (neat oils with additives, for example) and in accordance with the INRS recommendations on the measurement method. It is important to specify that the BaP measurement method is very specific, and that only laboratories having worked together with INRS to validate their method can provide compliant results.

Furthermore, you can also obtain this information from your lubricant supplier.

CONDAT’s commitment

Committed to a policy of Sustainable Development, CONDAT has the objective of continuous improvement of the health and environmental impact of the products it sells.

Even if the entire profession acknowledges the interest of measuring BaP, few companies are in a position to provide this information because there is no regulatory obligation regarding the BaP level; in fact only the level of PAHs according to IP346 is regulated and must be available and is required.

CONDAT has long anticipated these constraints and risks for its customers’ operators, with a PAH level of < 3%. In this framework, all the oils used by CONDAT fulfil this requirement and are therefore compliant with the regulations. And more particularly, lubricants for metal working have BaP levels that are compliant with those recommended by INRS.

CONDAT has not ceased to perfect the formulation of its lubricants in a perspective of respect for workers and the environment and offers for these issues:

NEAT GREEN: new generation neat oils for machining

The vegetable-based neat oil NEATGREEN offers high resistance to the formation of
PAH/BaP during its use under the most severe conditions. Several measurements at users’ sites, under identical conditions of use, demonstrate that NEATGREEN neat oil shows no increase in BaP level after 1 500 hours of machining, while oils from other sources exceed twice the limit fixed by the INRS, namely 100 µg/kg BaP. These new generation neat oils for machining also combine performance with respect for the environment and allow an increase in productivity while guaranteeing compatibility with all metals (no inter-granular corrosion with titanium and nickel alloys).


EXTRUGLISS G: neat oils destined for cold heading

EXTRUGLISS oils fulfil the same criteria of respect for HSE constraints concerning BaP but also concerning smoke reduction. Developed to comply with the specific requirements for aeronautical mounting parts in stainless steel, nickel alloys, titanium alloys, they also allow a significant reduction in tooling costs.

MECAGREEN:  Soluble machining oils

MECAGREEN soluble machining oils are formulated on the basis of vegetable oils and, by their nature, do not generate BaP; they are safer. Beyond the HSE benefits, these MECAGREEN oils bring significant advantages to machining specialists in terms of productivity. Clients using these fluids generally measure a reduction in consumption of the order of 30 to 45% compared with a standard mineral oil and reduced wear on tools of at least 20%, a clear economic advantage.

This new generation of lubricants, by limiting the rise in BaP levels during their use, results in exceptional length of life in service and less frequent oil changes, while respecting the CARSAT recommendations.

To provide a complete service to its customers, CONDAT is putting in place a procedure allowing it to provide the level of BaP contained in its oils. Customers, therefore, will likewise be able to provide precise measurements of BaP in their new oils. In addition, CONDAT customers can request analysis of baths in service to measure the level of BaP in oils in service and demonstrate that its solutions exceed the length of life of current baths.

CONDAT’s objective:

  • To guarantee by measurement of the oils used for making finished products (neat oils) a level of less than 30 µg/kg, as recommended by INRS
  • To prove to its clients that its lubricants for metal working have levels of less than 100 µg/kg for products in service and in comparison to current uses

With an R&D department of 40 people and specialists devoted to monitoring regulatory affairs, CONDAT seeks to anticipate as much as possible requirement criteria that may be issued in the future. To make every effort to offer products compliant with the regulations with a lower environmental and health impact, while meeting your productivity requirements: this is CONDAT’s vow of exemplary conduct.