What Are the Dangers of Brake Cleaner?

by David Clair

Brake cleaner is a mixture of solvents that is used for dissolving material that can built up onto a car's brake system. It is also very potent at dissolving grease. Brake cleaner contains powerful chemicals that can be very dangerous if inhaled or ingested. Knowing the dangers of brake cleaner is important for anyone who uses this potent chemical mixture.

Eye and Skin Contact

Vapors from brake cleaner can be irritating to the eyes. Skin contact with brake cleaner can cause skin irritation. Prolonged skin contact can cause damage to the skin. Repeated or prolonged contact with skin may cause drying or defatting of the skin which could lead to dermatitis.

Symptoms of eye irritation include tearing, redness, swelling and pain. Symptoms of skin irritation include rash, redness and swelling.

Inhalation and Ingestion

Inhalation of vapors released from brake cleaner may cause irritation to the throat, nose and respiratory tract. Inhalation can also cause nervous system depression or nervous system damage.

Symptoms of respiratory irritation include sore throat, runny nose, chest pain or discomfort, coughing and shortness of breath or reduced lung function.

Symptoms of gastrointestinal irritation include abdominal pain, sore throat, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.

Nervous system depression can lead to dizziness, headaches and nausea. In severe cases, nervous system depression can lead to loss of consciousness or death. Symptoms of overexposure include loss of coordination, loss of intellectual ability and loss of memory.

First Aid and Emergency Procedures

You should always seek immediate medical attention if you are exposed to harmful substances found in brake cleaner.If brake cleaner comes in contact with your eyes, flush eyes with water for 15 minutes or more. If it comes in contact with your skin, remove all contaminated shoes and clothing. Wash skin with soap and water. Do not reuse clothing if it is severely contaminated. If you inhale brake cleaner, go outside or somewhere where there is fresh air. If you ingest brake cleaner, do not induce vomiting. If vomiting occurs, keep your head below your hips to prevent the lungs from aspirating.

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