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Waxing chain, benzene a cancer risk?

Old 10-04-21, 01:24 PM
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Waxing chain, benzene a cancer risk?

I just read that heating paraffin creates benzene. What do you all think? Here's where I read it. Search on benzene.

https://zerofrictioncycling.com.au/w...-FAQ-v1.3a.pdf
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Old 10-04-21, 01:37 PM
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Are you going to be waxing your chain and dealing with melted paraffin for several hours a day every day of the year?
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Old 10-04-21, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Are you going to be waxing your chain and dealing with melted paraffin for several hours a day every day of the year?
Exactly this. No idea how much you ride Wattsup or if you do it when the sun is up...but, I can tell you I am more concerned about the UV light I am exposed to 3-4 hours a day than the 10 minutes I spend every weekend exposed to the paraffin I melt on my chains.
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Old 10-04-21, 01:45 PM
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I think a lot of non-chemists worry needlessly over such things. I guess if you got wax to just the right temperature it could break down but the more likely result is shorter straight chain hydrocarbons, not benzene which is a 6 member aromatic ring. The World Health Organization is probably a more reliable source of information on the hazards of paraffin and it shows wax to be pretty safe. https://inchem.org/documents/icsc/icsc/eics1457.htm
That is unless you heat it to the flash point and cause a fire. It is not a single compound so can have a range of flash points from 199 to 249 degrees C (115-154 F). Those who choose to clean their chains in gasoline have a lot more to worry about as according to the EPA on average it contains 1% benzene. That's a far greater exposure than to overheated paraffin. If you smell gasoline when you fill your gas tank you have breathed in some benzene. Do it outside and worry less.
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Old 10-04-21, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Are you going to be waxing your chain and dealing with melted paraffin for several hours a day every day of the year?
No, not every day. I ride in some pretty moist, sandy, muddy conditions though, and supposedly, in those conditions, one is supposed to wax after most every ride. I could stretch it a couple three rides, probably using a liquid wax to top it off. How much carcinogen is safe?

My mother died of a disease called MDS, a myelodysplastic blood disease, and exposure to benzene is thought to be one cause.
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Old 10-04-21, 02:12 PM
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I wouldn't recommend huffing this in an unventilated closet, but it's probably fine if you turn a fan on.

Maybe.

I'm sure there's an expert on carcinogens on BF who will chime in, or at least someone willing to do some googling while pretending to be an expert on this topic.
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Old 10-04-21, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
I wouldn't recommend huffing this in an unventilated closet, but it's probably fine if you turn a fan on.

Maybe.

I'm sure there's an expert on carcinogens on BF who will chime in, or at least someone willing to do some googling while pretending to be an expert on this topic.

I'm thinking of maybe just using a liquid wax instead of melted wax, something like Bananaslip Tungsten All-weather. It did very well in tests, about the best among the drip on waxes. Even if I went through a cassette and chain ring every year, (about $200 total) it's better than getting cancer!
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Old 10-04-21, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Wattsup View Post
I'm thinking of maybe just using a liquid wax instead of melted wax, something like Bananaslip Tungsten All-weather. It did very well in tests, about the best among the drip on waxes. Even if I went through a cassette and chain ring every year, (about $200 total) it's better than getting cancer!
Is this liquid wax is less likely to give you cancer than a melted wax?
According to Google: Tungsten is a transition metal in the same block as many of the carcinogenic metals on the periodic table and holds potential to induce cancer-associated effects.

You might want to wear gloves.
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Old 10-04-21, 02:23 PM
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If the main supporter for such cause is being backed by Proposition 65, then I'd be more concerned of being hit by a vehicle if riding the road bicycle in the roadways..
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Old 10-04-21, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
Is this liquid wax is less likely to give you cancer than a melted wax?
According to Google: Tungsten is a transition metal in the same block as many of the carcinogenic metals on the periodic table and holds potential to induce cancer-associated effects.
Unless I snort the BananaSlip, the answer is probably yes. I do wear gloves when cleaning my chain.
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Old 10-04-21, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
Is this liquid wax is less likely to give you cancer than a melted wax?
According to Google: Tungsten is a transition metal in the same block as many of the carcinogenic metals on the periodic table and holds potential to induce cancer-associated effects.

You might want to wear gloves.

Also...it's tungsten disulfide, and a quick google suggests that it's not dangerous.
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Old 10-04-21, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Wattsup View Post
I'm thinking of maybe just using a liquid wax instead of melted wax, something like Bananaslip Tungsten All-weather. It did very well in tests, about the best among the drip on waxes. Even if I went through a cassette and chain ring every year, (about $200 total) it's better than getting cancer!
Not to rain on the parade, but isn't a 'liquid wax' just heavier chain hydrocarbons suspended/dissolved in lighter chain hydrocarbons which evaporate, leaving only the heavies? So, volatile solvent - not generally known to be all that healthy.
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Old 10-04-21, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Wattsup View Post
No, not every day. I ride in some pretty moist, sandy, muddy conditions though, and supposedly, in those conditions, one is supposed to wax after most every ride. I could stretch it a couple three rides, probably using a liquid wax to top it off. How much carcinogen is safe?

My mother died of a disease called MDS, a myelodysplastic blood disease, and exposure to benzene is thought to be one cause.
if i had to wax after each ride, well, i wouldn't wax at all then.
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Old 10-04-21, 03:14 PM
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If you are concerned about it then just melt it or otherwise work with it in a well ventilated area. Outside is best. There are many more potentially carcinogenic things we touch or come in contact with every day. But similar to potentially poisonous stuff you come in contact with every day, the exposure times and amounts make a difference. IMO, though.

I'd certainly defer my opinion to any that study carcinogenic chemicals and can explain them in laymen's terms to me. But till then, I'll just hope that the government authorities that currently regulate such stuff have done their due diligence with it for the current knowledge out there.
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Old 10-04-21, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
Not to rain on the parade, but isn't a 'liquid wax' just heavier chain hydrocarbons suspended/dissolved in lighter chain hydrocarbons which evaporate, leaving only the heavies? So, volatile solvent - not generally known to be all that healthy.
BananaSlip is wax suspended in water.
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Old 10-04-21, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Wattsup View Post
I just read that heating paraffin creates benzene. What do you all think? Here's where I read it. Search on benzene.

https://zerofrictioncycling.com.au/w...-FAQ-v1.3a.pdf
No. Its not going to happen just by heating the wax. Nor would it happen if you got the wax to smoking temperature. The study that they are (well, arent) quoting suggests that burning candles releases an unspecified amount of benzene. The results of the study are quantitative, not qualitative and the study has not been published. The results were presented at a scientific meeting but has not been released in a peer reviewed journal. There is some questions about the veracity of the research.

You also dont need to heat your paraffin to the kinds of temperatures where it would start smoking. It doesnt start to burn until it is about 200C (390F) which is the smoking point. You only need it to be liquid, not smoking. The melt point is around 50C to 70C (115 to 150F). You dont need to heat it much above the melt point.

The Zero Friction article is also wrong about Teflon. The decomposition products of Teflon arent PFOA (perflourooctanoic acid). The decomposition products are far more complex and far more toxic. You also have to heat Teflon to over 330C (620F) in order to decompose it. If you heat your wax to that temperature, your kitchen is likely to be on fire first.

Using wax and/or teflon is safe as long as you dont try to burn them.
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Old 10-04-21, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by spelger View Post
if i had to wax after each ride, well, i wouldn't wax at all then.
I don't oil after every ride.
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Old 10-04-21, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Gyro View Post
I don't oil after every ride.
Once you get set up on a chain wax system where you rotate 2 or 3 chains, then waxing or changing chains after every ride would not be that time consuming. So long as you use quick links, changing out a chain takes about the same amount of time as putting air in your tires before a ride.
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Old 10-04-21, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
Not to rain on the parade, but isn't a 'liquid wax' just heavier chain hydrocarbons suspended/dissolved in lighter chain hydrocarbons which evaporate, leaving only the heavies? So, volatile solvent - not generally known to be all that healthy.
Yes, liquid wax is usually wax in a solvent. The solvent evaporates and leaves the wax behind. However the health effects of volatile solvent depends on the nature of the solvent. Water is volatile as is alcohol, acetone, gasoline, benzene, mineral spirits, and more. Some are toxic and some have much lower toxicity. Mineral spirits (probably the most widely used lubricant solvent), isnt particularly toxic. Its also used in oil based chain lubricants because oil based lubricants work the same way.
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Old 10-04-21, 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by masi61 View Post
Once you get set up on a chain wax system where you rotate 2 or 3 chains, then waxing or changing chains after every ride would not be that time consuming. So long as you use quick links, changing out a chain takes about the same amount of time as putting air in your tires before a ride.
Ahhhh, I'm one of them crazy guys. I change my chain once a year. Closing in 50,000 miles so far.
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Old 10-04-21, 03:58 PM
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Old 10-04-21, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Gyro View Post
Ahhhh, I'm one of them crazy guys. I change my chain once a year. Closing in 50,000 miles so far.
That's pretty impressive! I'm not proposing replacing one's chain any sooner than need be. I'm just saying you could install a freshly waxed chain every ride with minimal fuss once you are up and running. That is if you ride in the rain a lot or get the chain into some really nasty stuff and needed to rotate it for the ready one after just 1 ride. I followed the directions from Molten Speed Wax and once you prep a new chain for wax the first time, you are good to go for a long time.

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Old 10-04-21, 04:04 PM
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Wear a respirator when working with solvents. Not that hard.
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Old 10-04-21, 04:06 PM
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I guess it's time to go back to a razor.
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Old 10-04-21, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
I guess it's time to go back to a razor.
the laser lessens the maintenance.
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