Brake fluid warning (NOT!)

Tim O'Connor

Exactly Bill, if you see any thing with tetrachloro- in the prefix,
run away!! Or at least handle it with synthetic gloves and a gas mask.

Brake FLUID is quite mild, not dangerous to handle (but don't drink
it), is not volatile, and washes off easily.

BTW Bill, found this about Teflon:

"Teflon does not contain chloride and it would take some pretty
exotic chemistry to produce phosgene from a freon."

Turns out Teflon was discovered accidently while Dupont was trying
to concoct a refrigerant

Tim O'Connor

Nasty stuff... although if you read the article, they are talking about brake CLEANER, not brake fluid. AFAIK, brake fluid does not contain TCE, but that doesn't mean all of our compounds and chemicals we use are safe. Somebody (I think LaBelle Lubricants) once sold powdered teflon as a lubricant, and if you smoke, the tip of your cigarette is hot enough to break it down to, you guessed it, Phosgene gas.

Incidently, TCE (or Trichloroethylene) was and still is a common solvent. Down here it is a common groundwater contaminant, and has been suspected in several local leukemia "hotspots". TCE is also the first daughter product of Perchloroethylene, a common dry cleaning solvent. It's amazing the nasty compounds we surround ourselves with...

Bill Daniels

Tucson, AZ

cj riley <cjriley42@...>

I guess I could have been more clear in intending a warning about many of the chemicals we use. I knew an artist who used a torch on a piece of painted metal only to find it was galvanized and the flashing gases severely damaged his lungs, ending his life very prematurely.  Brake fluid, brake cleaner and many other require reading instructions and care in use. I am probably more guilty than most about following this advice.
CJ Riley


I agree, brake fluid isn't particularly volatile, but it can boil.
Driving down a steep mountain and braking too hard can fill one's brakes
lines with vaporized brake fluid and lead to brake failure.
Brake fluid is also flamable. Probably not real easy to ignite in
normal circumstances, but once while working on a GM assembly line I hooked up
a car battery, only to find the positive cable was laying loose on the
brake lines. It cut through them as easy as soft butter and the fluid hit the
white hot sparks and all but blew up in my face. We had to shut the line
down and evacuate the area because of the cloud of smoke it put out. So
take care is you use it near flames (like one of those little butane torches).
Rich Burg