There’s no question about the dangers of a chemical spill in the workplace. It must be properly contained and cleaned with appropriate spill control products and absorbents. But not all absorbents are created equal, and the ‘go to’ product for most companies may actually contain a significant hazard to you and your employee’s health. If you’re still using a clay absorbent, it’s time to rethink that choice and consider alternatives. Here’s why.

Dangers of Clay Absorbents

If you see the symbol to your right on packaging (and you will on a bag of clay absorbent!), it indicates that it is a WHMIS controlled product under Class D – Poisonous & Infectious Materials, Division 2 for toxic materials.

The hidden danger in a clay absorbent is that they contain substantial amounts of crystalline silica, a known hazardous material that has been linked to silicosis, a prolonged form of lung disease, and lung cancer. We recently shared a blog about crystalline silica and the major hazards it poses to workers – check it out here. Cleaning hazardous spills with a known carcinogen…seems sort of counterproductive.

Hidden Costs of Clay Absorbents

There are a few more reasons to consider switching from clay absorbents to something better. The absorption capacity of clay is very low. This means more material to clean the spill – and more time to clean it up. And since you pay per weight for hazardous chemical disposal, switching to an absorbent with a higher capacity can decrease disposal costs.

Clay is also frustratingly messy. The granules go everywhere and are made up of rough, abrasive particles that can damage sensitive machine parts and scuff your floors. This damage to your facility will add up over time causing you to have to spend more money on maintenance and repairs, but never really understanding why.

Time to Switch

Natural absorbent products like Enviro-Dri™ not only have zero health concerns to your employees but they provide much higher absorption capacities so you only end up absorbing 25% more spillage while using 40% less product. This has a significant impact on disposal costs, almost cutting them in half. Keep in mind disposal costs for oils can be between $125 – $250 per drum with increasing costs for more hazardous chemicals.

Products like these are also handled much easier by employees due to how much lighter they are (almost half the weight of a typical clay bag). Who doesn’t want their spill control products easier to deploy?

Considering these points, switching to more natural spill absorbent products just makes sense to help protect your business, your employees and equipment, and your bottom line.

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Eric Huard

Market Segment Manager, Personal Safety

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