Bioconcept metalworking fluid is not currently manufactured in the UK. A small number of distributors import and sell these fluids in the UK. Manufacturers claim 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. There have been no reported cases of respiratory ill health amongst users of bioconcept fluids in the UK.
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. Users should reassure themselves that the appropriate non-pathogenic bacteria species do populate the diluted fluid and that other, potentially pathogenic bacteria are not present. The user should discuss a suitable testing regime with the manufacturer and/or the UK supplier.
When bacteria have been growing in any water based MWF some will release endotoxins which may act as a contributory factor in the development, or aggravation, of respiratory ill-health. It is therefore important that exposure to both the mist and fluid is kept to a minimum using appropriate control measures, as detailed on these guidance pages.
Note that some metalworking fluids are called ‘biostable’ or ‘bioresistant’. It is important to understand that these fluids are not bioconcept fluids and therefore, all the measures as detailed in these pages should be followed.
- Working safely with metalworking fluids: A guide for employees
- Good Practice Guide for Safe Handling and Disposal of Metalworking Fluids