Incompletely cleaned cylinders can pose various health risks, especially if they are used for food purposes. A bigger problem arises when older cylinders that were originally intended for other uses (for example, cylinders intended for fire extinguishers are used for food purposes) are used incorrectly. Various contaminations can occur which can cause serious harm to the human body. We have listed the three most important ones below:
Contamination with hazardous chemicals: if a cylinder has been filled with gases or substances it was not intended for during previous use, the contents may become contaminated. This can be harmful to health and may even pose a safety hazard. An unsuitable combination of different gases, impurities or precipitated water can cause a very aggressive environment which can even compromise the integrity of the cylinder.
Microbial contamination: inadequately cleaned cylinders may contain micro-organisms such as bacteria, moulds or yeasts. These microorganisms can grow in new contents and cause potentially harmful microbial contamination.
Corrosion products: cylinders may contain rust and corrosion from previous use. These substances may react with new contents or cause chemical contamination.
There may be residues of substances that may react with or contaminate the new contents. To minimize these risks, it is important that cylinders are properly cleaned and disinfected when required by the application. Regulations and procedures for cleaning and sterilizing cylinders may vary depending on the specific application. It is important to follow the appropriate standards and recommendations for the type of cylinder and contents.
It is also important to ensure that cylinders are stored correctly to prevent physical damage and that they are appropriately labelled and recorded so that the history of their use and contents can be tracked. All this will help to minimise the health risks associated with unclean cylinders.
Above all, the purpose for which the cylinder was manufactured, certified and audited must be respected!