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Safety alert over “universal” air conditioning cleaners

Company issues warning to facilities managers and service engineers, to regularly check the labels and associated safety data sheets of cleaning chemicals

Advanced Engineering has issued an urgent warning to facilities managers and service engineers, to regularly check the labels and associated safety data sheets of cleaning chemicals advertised as suitable for indoor and outdoor use.

The company circulated the alert after noticing the worrying chemical “Risk Phrase” R34 (causes burns) on labels, showing one popular chemical marketed as “universal” was in fact corrosive and officially classified as dangerous by the EU.

Advanced technical director Colin Pratt explains: “Using a heavy-duty corrosive chemical indoors will get things very clean – but the risks are simply unacceptable. That’s why responsible companies don’t market them that way.

“The law, and common sense, say risks at work must be as low as reasonably practical. That means every facilities manager and engineer needs to ensure the risks posed by any cleaning chemical are proportionate to the job it needs to do.

“You need to know what’s in the bottle. Whatever the advertising spin says, that should always involve checking small print – ideally, the Material Safety Data Sheet – very carefully, because some manufacturers are not very forthcoming about the actual risks involved, and some even vary their formulas without changing the brand.

“In some cases, it might come down to knowing the difference between Risk Phrases R36/38, an irritant, and R34, a corrosive, which is far nastier and should not usually be used indoors.”

To help engineers and facilities managers who are confused about chemical risk assessment, or at all unsure whether their current cleaner is appropriate for purpose, Advanced Engineering is offering free, unbiased technical support on 01256 460300.

“We have expert staff on hand, who are happy to help,” says Colin Pratt. “As the industry leader, we feel it’s our job to act in situations like this and ensure people – whether our customers or not – are as safe as possible.”