used in an unventilated space under any circumstances.
Special clothing requirements also must be observed
when using some solvents. As a petty officer, you
MUST make sure all safety precautions are observed at
all times. Laxity on anyones part could cause a mishap,
resulting in injuries or even deaths. By observing safety
precautions, you and your people will reduce mishaps
and save lives.
Damage to containers, including dents, pitting, rust,
creases, cracks, and damage to closures and gaskets,
may lead to leakage and dangerous spills. Containers in
flammable liquid stowage facilities will be inspected
weekly. Containers of other hazardous materials will be
inspected monthly and inventoried quarterly. NSTM,
chapter 670, describes proper stowage, handling,
container inspection, and disposal of hazardous general-
Types of solvents
As mentioned throughout this chapter, the Navy
uses many types of solvents for a multitude of cleaning
assignments. Many of these solvents are highly toxic and
some are highly flammable. You must take special care
when using many of these solvents; make sure you store
them in cool, dry areas. NSTM, chapter 631, contains a
list of approved solvents and their flash points (lowest
temperature at which vapors ignite in air when exposed
to flame). Figure 6-4 shows a list of commonly used
solvents approved by the Navy and the flash points of
these solvents. NSTM, chapter 670, describes proper
stowage, handling, and disposal of these solvents.
Most cleaning solvents contain toxic substances.
These substances can cause injuries if they are inhaled,
absorbed by the skin, or ingested. All toxic materials
must be handled carefully to prevent injury. The
following paragraphs contain information about two
general categories of toxic cleaning solvents. There is
another typefluorocarbon refrigerants and solvents;
however, special approval is required to obtain and use
them. If you have any questions about the solvent you
are going to use, check the maintenance requirement
cards (MRCs) for the task; ask your supervisor; or check
the NSTM, chapters 631 and 670.
Chlorinated-cleaning solvents can be highly toxic if used
improperly. They may be irritating to the skin and toxic
if ingested. Toxic vapors may cause damage to the
lungs, eyes, and nervous system when the vapors are
present in confined spaces, in spaces with inadequate
ventilation, or when the vapor concentration is increased
by heating. Solvents decompose at high temperatures
and produce gases more toxic than the solvents
themselves. Solvents react with alkalies, oxidizers, and
powdered metals to produce toxic gases.
Common types of chlorinated-cleaning solvents are
chloroethylene (perchloroethylene, dry-cleaning solvent).
Because of the extreme dangers involved, the Navy
severely restricts the use of these solvents. For detailed
restriction information on solvents, refer to NSTM,
chapter 670, section 3.
Never stow chlorinated-cleaning solvents near heat
sources or open flames. Do not allow them to come in
contact with hot surfaces. Make sure stowage areas are
well ventilated and monitored regularly by the gas-free
engineer. Additionally, do not stow these solvents near
incompatible materials. Incompatible materials include
strong alkalies, such as sodium hydroxide; oxidizers,
such as calcium hypochlorite and sodium nitrate; and
powdered metals, such as aluminum.
When handling chlorinated-cleaning solvents, wear
the following personal protective equipment (PPE):
Safety goggles that will protect against splashes
or a face shield
A chemical cartridge respirator for protection
against small amounts of organic vapors or for
protection for a short duration; or an air line respirator
(or some other type of supplied-air respirator) if use is
extensive or in a confined space
Make sure work areas in which you use chlorinated-
cleaning solvents have proper ventilation.