Pollution Prevention Success Story on Toxic Chemical Substitution at a Printing Plant at Barksdale AFB

This document was provide by PRO-ACT. Contact information is provided at the end of each document.

Initiative: Toxic Chemical Substitution

At a Glance!

Shop Function:Base Printing Plant
Process:Cleaning Ink Rollers
Benefit:Eliminates Hazardous Material and Personnel Protective Equipment Usage

Point of Contact

Name:Scott Geraghty
TSgt Robert Phillips
Organization:Mission Support
Barksdale AFB, LA
Telephone:(318) 456-6882 DSN 781-6882

"The base uses d-Limonene because it is a more effective cleaner and outlasts the formerly used solvents by 65 percent." - Scott Geraghty Barksdale AFB Mission Support


Air Force installations disseminate a large volume of printed information to base personnel. As a result, many installations maintain their own printing plants. Some of the chemicals typically used in the printing industry contain toxic solvents such as perchloroethylene and methyl chloroform. Persons working with these chemicals, depending on circumstances, may have to wear personal protective equipment (PPE), including special gloves, clothing, and respiratory gear. Waste materials from these chemical printing processes are regulated as hazardous wastes under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Perchloroethylene and methyl chloroform are insoluble and more dense than water; in the event of a release, groundwater contaminated with these chemicals is extremely difficult and expensive to remediate. Efforts to find functional, non-hazardous and non-toxic alternatives to these solvents are definitely worthwhile.

A Better Method

The Mission Support section at Barksdale AFB operates a printing plant for the base. The printing process at Barksdale AFB requires the ink rollers of the printing press be cleaned 30 to 50 times each day. The base previously followed the common practice of using a solvent called Blankrola, which contains perchloroethylene, and a deglazing agent, which contains methyl chloroform, to clean the ink rollers. Personnel at the Mission Support section found a less-toxic, non-hazardous and non-carcinogenic alternative for these chemicals.

The alternative cleaner is called d-Limonene and is manufactured by Harcross Chemicals, Inc., in Shreveport, Louisiana. D-Limonene is more environmentally sound, lasts longer and costs significantly less than the previous solvents and deglazing compounds. The Blankrola cleaning solvent cost $13.50 per gallon and the deglazing agent cost $12.00 per pint. Mr. Scott Geraghty at the Mission Support section estimated the base spent an average of $102.00 per month to purchase these chemicals. D-Limonene, which replaces both of these chemicals, costs $7.10 per gallon. Because d-Limonene is a more effective cleaner, lasting 65% longer than the former solvents, Mr. Geraghty stated the base spends only $36.00 per month to purchase the cleaner.

In addition, d-Limonene is not regulated as a hazardous waste under RCRA; therefore, costly hazardous waste disposal procedures are not required to discard any used product.

As an added financial bonus and benefit to worker safety, d-Limonene does not produce toxic vapors. Therefore, base personnel do not have to wear cumbersome respirators, gloves and clothing to protect themselves from hazardous chemical exposure when working with the cleaner.

Cost Savings On a Higher Level

Employees at Barksdale AFB recommend other installations consider replacing their hazardous cleaning solvents with d-Limonene. Doing so will help achieve the Air Force's goal to reduce hazardous waste, reduce the potential for hazardous chemical exposure and benefit the environment. According to Mr. Geraghty, there are as many as 70 printing plants within the Air Force. If each of these printing plants begins using a non-hazardous solvent such as d-Limonene, the total Air Force savings would approach $1 million.

For More Information

If you have additional questions about d-Limonene, please contact PRO-ACT at (210) 536-4214 or DSN 240-4214, or contact Mr. Geraghty or Technical Sergeant Robert Phillips, Barksdale AFB, directly at (318) 456-6882 or DSN 781-6882.

Last Updated: July 27, 1995