The word ‘acid’ has many connotations, and for most people probably conjures up images of corroded metal and hazardous chemical symbols. Many would be surprised to realise how many different acids they actually use in their homes and businesses.
Traditionally, inorganic acids (also known as mineral acids) have been used in industrial liquids, particularly cleaners and rust removers. Sulphuric, hydrochloric and nitric acids are some well-known examples. The reason for their popularity and widespread use is obvious: these are highly corrosive substances with powerful cleaning properties. Unfortunately, like so many other industrial chemicals, the effectiveness of mineral acids is matched by the danger of using them.
Mineral acids are carcinogenic to humans, and long-term exposure to these chemicals is potentially fatal. The highly corrosive properties of mineral acids can cause substantial tooth erosion, as well as damage to the delicate capillaries of the lungs. Severe respiratory ailments can develop in people who use mineral acid cleaning products on a regular basis, particularly in aerosol form.
Clearly we should minimise our use of such products, but this presents a dilemma. Acid-based industrial liquids are far too useful and wide-ranging to simply abandon. The realistic solution is to find alternative safe acids to replace dangerous and harmful ones. This is where we begin to explore the other side of the acid equation: organic.
You don’t have to look far to find organic acids. Remember the last time you ate an orange? Citric acid. Yoghurt? That’s lactic acid. The list is endless. We encounter naturally occurring acids every day, many of them inside our own bodies. What we now understand is that many of these natural acids can perform the same cleaning functions as harsh mineral acids. The acidic cleaning effect is the same, but organic acids are much gentler and less corrosive. This equates to less wear and tear on the surfaces being cleaned. There is a growing range of cleaning products that utilise organic acids to the same effect as traditional inorganic products, without any of the associated health risks. No carcinogens, no lung damage, no noxious fumes and odours. Just a gentle all-natural cleaning solution.
The other enormous benefit of organic acids is their biodegradability. Because these acids are naturally occurring and derived from living matter, they will break down in the earth over time without polluting soil and water. When you add all of this up, natural organic acids make a lot of sense. If there is a safer, cleaner alternative to dangerous mineral acids, we have every reason in the world to pursue it. Envirosafe Solutions is working to harness the power of organic acids, because we firmly believe that nature can provide us with all of the cleaning solutions we need.