VLS Brings Changes for Cutting Fluid

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Industry watchdog Verification of Lubricant Specifications reported recently that a metalworking fluids supplier altered the formulation for a cutting fluid and amended the product’s labeling after a VLS complaint of inaccurate statements regarding health hazards.

The organization, an arm of the United Kingdom Lubricant Association, posted a bulletin last month about its interaction with John Neal Ltd. concerning its Coolant CS-AQ synthetic aluminum cutting fluid.

According to the bulletin, in June of 2023 VLS received a complaint about the technical data sheet on the product, which claimed that it presented no mist hazard to human health. VLS noted that the fluid does not contain mineral base oil, which can cause health risks when turned into mist, but it added that cutting fluids can become contaminated by materials that are similarly hazardous in mist form, including fungi and bacteria or tramp oils used to lubricate metalworking machines.

The organization also pointed out that the material safety data sheet for the product said it contained pyridine-2-thiol 1-oxide, sodium salt, which is used as a biocide. The chemical is classified as toxic if inhaled, VLS said.

The organization also found problems with claims that the product helped users meet oil mist limits and that tests found zero bacterial growth in the fluid after 12 months of operation. On the first point, there are no published limits on oil mist, VLS said. It added that it requested evidence for the second point but received none.

Finally, it noted that John Neal claimed the fluid was free of sensitizers, substances that can cause allergic reactions, even though pyridine-2-thiol 1-oxide, sodium salt is such a chemical.

The bulletin said VLS broached these issues with the company, which subsequently replaced pyridine-2-thiol 1-oxide, sodium salt with a fungicide. The company also revised the product’s technical data sheet to claim that it contains no chlorine, boron, formaldehydes or known sensitizers and that it also contains no ingredients constituting aspiration hazards according to CLP 2020/878, a classification, labeling and packaging annex to the European Union’s REACH chemicals safety regulation.

VLS said it’s Technical Review Panel reviewed John Neal’s revised claims for the fluid, found no problems and closed its case on the matter.

VLS Company Secretary David Wright said the organization takes up such cases because it wants to encourage high standards of lubricant manufacturing and marketing in Europe, both to create a level playing field for suppliers and to protect consumers and end users.