Minding Your D’s and B’s

In the English language, the smallest change can make the biggest difference. Take humus and hummus, for example. The first is the organic component of soil, formed as leaves and other plant material decompose. The latter is a thick paste made from ground chickpeas, sesame seeds, olive oil, lemon and garlic. They’re completely different products, with different purposes: compost vs. food. We might say hummus gives rise to humus. But most people wouldn’t want to eat the latter.

The same discernment holds true in the world of spill containment. People tend to use the terms “adsorb” and “absorb” interchangeably, but there is a critical distinction. To confuse the two puts you at cross-purposes.

Adsorb means, “to undergo a process in which a substance accumulates on the surface of a solid, forming a thin film”: the dye is adsorbed onto the fiber.

Conversely, absorb means “to take in or soak up (a liquid or other substance)”: the towel absorbed the bathwater from the baby’s body.

This is why people prefer that you be absorbed by the mesmerizing story they’re sharing, rather than sitting there with a glazed expression adsorbed onto your face.

Adsorb, a word typically used in science, is helpful in determining the effectiveness of different spill clean up products. This is especially important when dealing with hazardous liquids. Wouldn’t you want to know that what you used to clean up a spill actually trapped the liquid indefinitely, rather than simply allowing it to coat the surface, where it could easily leach? Only a leech would knowingly market adsorbents as absorbents!

If an adsorbent material, such as kitty litter, is used to clean up a spill, it will not fully pull the liquid from the surface and will also leave a residue wherever the used product is stored. 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. Caveat emptor.

The best product for cleaning a liquid chemical spill is an absorbent that is also non-leaching, meaning it permanently traps chemicals through a chemical bonding process within the absorbent. This gives you the best cleaning ability: pulling the liquid from the surface easily and efficiently, knowing you are trapping it permanently for safe disposal.

XSORB’s line of unique super-absorbent products is non-leaching, effective, non-toxic, and eco-friendly: in short, absolutely safe.


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