Health and Safety Notes: For the past few years now, Chris Stavroudis, who writes a Health & Safety column for the WAAC newsletter, has brought to the attention of conservators that Triton X-100 has some potential health concerns associated with its use. Chris has pointed out that Triton X-100 is made from, and decomposes back into, octylphenol, which has been demonstrated to mimic the hormone estrogen in a number of animal species at extremely low levels of exposure. Although there is no direct evidence of any health hazard associated with the use of Triton X-100, caution is recommended when using it. Due to the fact that some risk may be involved with the use of Triton X-100 we do believe women and particularly women in their child bearing years, should be especially concerned, and should avoid all exposure to Triton X-100. Because of these health concerns, we highly suggest you consider the replacement of Triton X-100 whenever possible with the safer version, Surfonic JL-80X. Most importantly, do as we always recommend, READ THE MATERIAL SAFETY DATA SHEETS FOR YOURSELF.
Triton X-100 is a nonionic surface-active detergent that consists of 100% active ingredients and is 99%+ biodegradable. It takes the form of a clear to slightly hazy thick liquid (240 cps) that is stable for years if stored in a sealed container. It has a pH range of 6.5-8.0. Triton X-100 is soluble in all proportions at 25°C in water, benzene, toluene, xylene ethanol, isopropanol and ethylene glycol. For most cleaning applications a concentration of 2-5% should prove to be adequate. This is a great cleaner for brick, stone and masonry.