Breakdown Dead Ahead


When Boz Scaggs sang about there being a breakdown dead ahead, he wasn’t referring to a mechanical failure — or to leaching hazardous chemicals. But the words do grab one’s attention. 

How do you prevent hazardous waste, or indeed any type of spill, from escaping its spill clean up solution? By understanding the distinction between adsorbtion and absorption. 

You might think adsorb is a typo. Far from it. “Adsorb” means to leave a thin film on the surface of a material. Such as the wet shine on someone’s upper lip when they’re nervous. Sort of like that. 

When you’re talking about chemicals, however, the distinction between adsorb and absorb is critical. So let’s get a bit more technical:

To adsorb means, “hold (molecules of a gas or liquid or solute) as a thin film on the outside surface or on internal surfaces within the material”: the dye is adsorbed onto the fiber.

On the flip side, absorb means “to take in or soak up (a liquid or other substance)”: the towel absorbed the water from her face. 

If you use an adsorbent material such as kitty litter to clean up a spill, it will not fully pull the liquid from the surface — and will leave a residue wherever the adsorbed product is stored. This is very dangerous, especially if you need to dispose of hazardous materials. However, even if a material is considered an absorbent, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will not leach or break down — and eventually release the chemicals it cleaned up. 

This is why Impact Absorbents (note the “b” in our name) is your best solution for non-leaching spill clean up and spill containment products.

One top choice for hazardous waste is our XSORB Plus Super Encapsulator line, which absorbs tough spills such as motor oil, grease, bleach, and cooking oil, as well as industrial spills such as emulsified oils, biologically hazardous waste, toxic waste water, and other hazardous materials.

It’s an ideal absorbent for oil refineries, nuclear power plants, hazmat response teams, and facilities using hazardous or toxic chemicals, as well as for less hazardous or non-hazardous uses, such as grocery and chain stores, tire and lube centers, and home applications. 

So be sure to look for the “b” when choosing spill clean up and spill containment solutions: an absorbent that is non-leaching and will protect your business, employees, and the environment by containing the spill and keeping it trapped, forever.

With Impact Absorbents in the driver’s seat, there won’t be a “breakdown” dead ahead. 


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