Metalworking Fluids and Cutting Oil Exposure*

We are no longer accepting Metalworking Fluid cases

Industries That Use Metal Cutting Oils

Because synthetic metal cutting oils come in so many forms, they can be utilized across a variety of industries. Any type of production work that requires a long period of heavy cutting can benefit from the cooling and lubricating effects of metal washing fluids. Some of the industries that utilize cutting compounds include:

  • Aerospace
  • Automotive
  • Coin Minting
  • Medical Device Manufacturing
  • Petrochemical
  • Wire Manufacturing

The workers in all of these industries are consistently in very close contact with the fluid, which is why so many experience sickness or skin problems after years of exposure. In practice, test equipment is used to determine the levels of acidity and conductivity in the fluids, while a hand-held refractometer can test for the ratio of water-soluble coolants.

Occupations That Carry Risk of Exposure

Within each industry there are specific occupations that carry a greater risk of exposure than others. Many of these individuals are inhaling or coming into contact with the fluid on a daily basis, increasing their chances of illness and health problems. Workers in the following occupations have a severe risk of exposure to the toxic effects of metal washing fluid:

  • Assembly Worker
  • Machine Operator
  • Machinery Mechanic
  • Machinist
  • Metalworker
  • Machine Setter

Data from the CDC estimates that 1.2 million workers are exposed in industries like machine finishing, machine tooling, and related metalworking or metal-forming operations. In 1998, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) published a manual for the metalworking industries addressing the need for strict safety precautions and to educate workers and employers on the dangers of the fluids they use daily.

Machines That Use Metalworking Fluid

Industrial workers often use metalworking fluid while milling, turning, threading, cutting, grinding or otherwise manipulating the metals that build the products that make this country strong. However, exposure to metal working fluids can lead to chronic respiratory diseases and other conditions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expressed concern over workers’ exposure to these fluids, which can cause extremely damaging effects to the dermatological and respiratory systems.

If you have used any of the following devices in your occupation, you could have been exposed:

  • Drill Presses
  • Lathes
  • Screw Machines
  • Spindle Machines
  • Turning Machines

Common Additives Used in Metalworking Fluid

Composition varies in each type of cutting fluid; however, the list of additives that may be included is quite long. Common additives include:

  • Alkanolamines
  • Anti-misting agents
  • Anti-weld agents
  • Biocides
  • Buffers
  • Chlorinated or sulphurized compounds
  • Colorants
  • Corrosion inhibitors
  • Defoamers
  • Dispersants
  • Dyes
  • Emulsifiers
  • Extreme pressure additives
  • Fragrances
  • Odorants
  • Stabilizers

These additives may contain compounds, sulfonates and fatty materials. Water-based non-oils can become host to nitrosamines when stored for long periods of time. Nitrosamines are chemical compounds, many of which are carcinogens. Nitrosamine compounds form because of an interaction between the nitrites in the cutting fluid, the lining of storage containers or nitrogen oxides in the air.

Despite the urging of The United Auto Workers and United Steelworkers of America to create standards on Industrial lubricants, oils, fluids and coolants, currently there is only a maximum recommended exposure level of 0.4 milligrams per cubic meter of air set by NIOSH. There is no enforcement of this recommendation.

The personal injury lawyers at Cory Watson Attorneys settled their lawsuits and recovered compensation for their clients exposed to Metalworking Fluid and Cutting Oil.

*Cory Watson Attorneys is no longer accepting Metalworking Fluid and Cutting Oil Exposure cases.