Bioconcept metalworking fluid is currently only believed to be produced by one manufacturer, and is available through a single distributor in the UK. The manufacturer claims that the fluid, through its constituents, becomes naturally populated by non-pathogenic waterborne bacteria originating from the water supply (i.e. unlikely to cause infection in healthy human beings) and the principle behind its use is that this prevents the proliferation of potentially harmful bacteria within the fluid. This means that the traditional metalworking fluid control method of dip slide monitoring, to count bacterial loading, will not be appropriate.
A characteristic of bioconcept fluids is that metalworking fluid systems will not have to be monitored for bacterial contamination by users nor will biocides need to be added. However, these fluids require optimum conditions for the natural bacterial population to survive and need careful management, including close monitoring of pH levels and working concentration, to ensure they stay within the manufacturer’s tolerances.
Although there have been no reported cases of respiratory ill health amongst users of Bioconcept fluids, if endotoxins are the causative (or a contributory) agent for respiratory ill-health there may be a potential for respiratory health effects as the non-pathogenic bacteria die. Research is being carried out by HSL to evaluate the manufacturer’s claims and look at appropriate management controls. It is still important that exposure to both the mist and fluid is kept to a minimum using appropriate control measures, as detailed on these guidance pages.