Yes… And there’s a big problem with that which I will get to shortly.
Since the very beginning people have been using harsh industrial acids to remove concrete from trucks and equipment. These acids are dangerous to the environment and to the health of the workers. While there are many safer alternatives to hydrofluoric and hydrochloric acids most have significant shortcomings. Sulfuric acid, for example, is non-fuming and so reduces the risk of inhalation related health problems however it does a very poor job of breaking down concrete and rapidly loses strength. The result being that more is needed to do the job properly and thus the danger of skin contact and environmental concerns are elevated. The same is true of phosphoric and many other acids.
Then in recent years companies have come out with a “safe” acid; you’ve heard the key words: non-corrosive, non-fuming, safe for the entire truck, safe for wiring/electrical, safe for glass, safe for aluminum and chrome, etc. all descriptions they use for glycolic acids.
The only problem with those descriptions are they are the exact same way we describe our entire line of synthetic acid products, all triple zero HMIS, all patented, but as they say, “imitation is the biggest form of flattery.” But those claims can’t be true when glycolic acids have HMIS scores anywhere from 4-1-1 to 3-0-0 (depends how much you dilute some of the ingredients.
Btw, Glycolic is made up of sulfuric acid, formic acid, and formaldehyde, yes, formaldehyde. Just look at the SDS sheet.
Many companies as of late are trying to pass off glycolic acid as a safer alternative to mineral acids. While it may be non-fuming and may not feel like it is harming your skin it is. The products we’ve tested all represent a health HMIS score of 1 or lower on the label. All contained glycolic acid or a cocktail of glycolic and other acids. The problem being that glycolic acid carries an HMIS score of 3 or 4. Glycolic acid is one of the most commonly used ingredients in dermatological acid peels since it has an excellent capability to penetrate skin.
This procedure is done in a doctor’s office under careful supervision and exposure is limited in area. When washing a concrete truck with a product assumed to be safe the affected area may be much larger. When glycolic acid is absorbed into the skin it breaks down the lipids bonding layers of skin together. It then enters the bloodstream and is metabolized in the body to oxalic acid. Oxalic acid bonds with calcium in the blood. When filtered through the kidneys this calcium oxalate can obstruct the kidney tubules and cause renal failure. It is corrosive and will cause burns to any part of the body it contacts. It is toxic to your lungs and is listed as a possible developmental toxin based on animal studies. It is listed on the TSCA (Toxic Substances Control Act), Considered
hazardous by OSHA, and carries a class 8 corrosive designation from the DOT. It is quite obvious that this is a dangerous chemical and is in no way safe.
The cons to glycolic are similar to harsh, faster acting acids like hydrochloric include paint scorching in hot temperatures, danger to skin, eyes, lungs and the truck (no glycolic-powered wash has acquired even a single OEM endorsement. Then again, no one but EMS has one so we we’re. This is why surfaces must be dry.
Glycolics requires more surface time and must be kept wet but with product, not water. Also, they cannot not be used in direct sunlight or on a hot surface. Most glycolic products warn against using above temperatures of 80F (see attached photo). If the product is allowed to dry on the surface (again, you can’t use water to keep it wet) it will dry with a hard white residue (see attached photo of a head to head demo with Revive-Crete which cleaned the left arm and a glycolic which took 30 minutes of waiting to leave most of the concrete on the arm along with a very hard to remove white crust). Notice how clean we got the arm cleaned with Revive-Crete in the foreground.
So is Glycolic acid used in dermatological skin peels, yes. What do you think that same acid is doing to your fleet that you don’t even know.