History of ESCA Tech, Inc.
Today, ESCA Tech is the largest producer of specialty cleaners for the removal of heavy metals from the skin and other surfaces with stocking distributors serving customers in 45 countries worldwide. With over 30 years of experience in the control of heavy metals ESCA Tech provides extensive technical support covering a wide range of contamination control and regulatory topics.
ESCA Tech was founded February 1, 1979 by Daniel Askin to assist lead processors in meeting the OSHA lead standard published in November, 1978. Mr. Askin initially provided consulting services to the major battery manufacturers, battery recyclers, lead chemical producers, their contractors and other companies in the business of processing and using lead, arsenic and cadmium. In his consulting work, Dan wrote and implemented many of the first effective blood lead and blood cadmium reduction plans in industry. He taught respiratory protection, quantitative respirator fit testing, personal hygiene and designed plant ventilation systems, employee facilities and did pioneering work in the recirculation of industrial exhaust air and the application of HEPA filters for toxic dusts.
By 1983, despite all of the improvements in personal hygiene, respiratory protection, protective clothing and plant ventilation, it was apparent that the blood levels had hit a plateau and were not continuing the initial downward trend that was predicted by the air-blood models OSHA had used to set the new PEL's. Then one day in 1983, while Dan was doing a combination plant ventilation audit and blood lead reduction program at a battery plant in South Carolina, he went to the washroom to clean up because he had gotten a lot of lead on his hands. He observed the skin cleaners provided by the plant would not remove the lead. He then proceeded from washroom to washroom and tried every soap in the building to clean the lead off his hands. No luck. Finally after a trip to the lab for some dilute acetic acid, Dan had lunch. This experience made Dan realize that lead remaining on the skin after washing was the most likely reason that worker's blood lead levels were not continuing to go down.
In late 1983, ESCA Tech first offered Lead-Out as an improved skin cleaner for lead. This original formula used a high level of EDTA (a strong chelating agent) as the active ingredient. While it was a significant improvement in both lead removal and reducing blood lead levels compared with the other skin cleaners available, the EDTA interfered with waste water treatment and was slightly irritating to the skin.
Continued research and testing lead to the development of the D-Lead® formula, without the use of any chelating agents. Our original D-Lead® Hand Soap was first available in October, 1989. This breakthrough in heavy metal cleaning technology incorporated the highest metal removal capacity in a skin conditioning formulation with added emollients and waste water treatability. Continued research and testing resulted in the development of the entire family of D-Lead® products. During testing of many commercial cleaners and D-Lead® formulas we developed a standard laboratory method to measure the efficiency of the removal of heavy metals from the skin and other surfaces and we implemented quality control standards to require all of our skin cleaners to meet a minimum lead removal efficiency of 99%.
In 2002 we concluded an extensive review and improvement program for all of the D-Lead® formulas and were able to increase our minimum removal efficiency standard to 99.97%. Along with increasing the lead removal capacity of all our products, we improved the mildness of our skin cleaners.
From the beginning of the D-Lead® cleaner development our principle objective has always been the health of our customers who come into contact with heavy metals. This is why we have always strived for maximum heavy metal removal with minimum solubility of the metals. This means we don't use chelates such as citric acid, citrates or glycolic acid which dissolve heavy metals. When heavy metals are in water soluble form they are more biologically available (are absorbed more readily by the body) than water insoluble forms. When metals from the skin are ingested, the water soluble forms are more easily absorbed. In addition, water soluble heavy metals are readily absorbed through the skin when compared with water insoluble forms of the same metals.
In addition to our cleaners, ESCA Tech also designs and supplies a wide variety of Contamination Control Products including shoe cleaners, laundry systems, Air Showers and HEPA Vacuum Cleaners.
We are proud of our achievements in Contamination Control and the number of people worldwide we have assisted in living healthier lives and hope you will try our D-Lead® Cleaners and Test Kits, D-Wipe® Towels, D-Step Mats™, Boot Blaster™ and other products. We look forward to the opportunity to assist you in reducing and controlling your exposure to toxic heavy metals.