False Representations of Met-L-Chek … ¿USED CAR SALESMEN?


We have all heard the story of the used car salesman who alleged that the wreck that he was selling had belonged to “a little old lady from Pasadena” who only drove it on Sundays to go to church. Well, salesmen and saleswomen sometimes use rhetoric like this to convince a person to buy. And, as it turns out, this kind of tactic is even used in the sale of NDT materials. We have a couple of instances to relate, that have come to our attention.

The first instance is one where the salesperson allegedly told the potential buyer that the brand of penetrant that he was selling was superior to other brands because it did not contain any toxic chromium, possibly hinting that the other brands all contained chromium. Could this be true? Well, yes and no. Anyone who is familiar with the qualification requirements for penetrants, as specified in AMS-2644 and its predecessor, MIL-I-25135 may recall that paragraph states as follows:

“Prohibited ingredients for any penetrant material include …compounds of hexavalent chromium…”

So the answer is that if the salesperson was selling a penetrant product that was listed on the QPL, It certainly did not have any toxic chromium in it. But, neither do any other qualified penetrants. So all manufacturers that have products listed on the QPL can say the same thing. But if the salesperson puts a spin on the story, it can sound like there is only one
manufacturer who is responsible. It is the old story, BUYER BEWARE.

Our second story concerns a salesperson who allegedly told a potential customer that the penetrant products that he was selling were made by a company that was presently upgrading their formulations so that they would meet stringent new European standards. The hint was that his company was far ahead of others in preparing for these new European requirements. What that salesperson did not add, was that other manufacturers, notably Met-L-Chek, had met the European requirements several years prior. In actuality, the company that the salesperson represented was far behind the times. BUYER BEWARE.

A third story happened many years ago. Freon® propellants in aerosol cans were banned in the US in 1978. Penetrant manufacturers switched to either of two propellants, these being
hydrocarbons or carbon dioxide. On the one hand, the hydrocarbons were flammable (Freon® was not), but they provided the same spray characteristics that the Freons® did. On the other hand, carbon dioxide was not flammable , but the spray it produced was inferior to what the users needed. So some manufacturers chose hydrocarbons and some chose carbon dioxide. We were told that salespersons selling carbon dioxide propelled developer would allege that the hydrocarbon propelled aerosol cans were bombs, hinting that they were very dangerous. What they did not add was that Johnson and Johnson, the maker of pharmaceutical and household products, had been using hydrocarbon propellants for years. The safety of hydrocarbon propelled aerosol cans is exemplary, and yes, those companies that used carbon dioxide as a propellant in their cans of developer now use hydrocarbons. BUYER BEWARE.

We recently encountered a salesman who stated to one of our customers that our penetrants contain nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPE). For those that might not know, NPE’s were a common element in surfactants. Given that bit of information, you can imagine how many manufacturers used NPE’s in their water washable penetrants. NPE’s have some detrimental effects on marine life, and in some cases caused sexual mutations in fish. With this information, the use of surfactants (or anything else for that matter) containing NPE’s were disallowed over 30 years ago under a revision of SAE-AMS-2644, which is the spec that penetrant manufactures must abide to.

With out any due research, or even a simple call to us, the customer believed the salesman and … well played?

Things are sometimes not what they seem, and it pays to be cautious and even sometimes suspicious, if the salesperson gives you that little old lady in Pasadena story. If you have questions about any story that sounds just a bit fishy, give us a call. We might just be able to set the record straight.