Non-sparking tools also generate sparks sometimes referred to as “cold sparks”. These cold sparks have a low heat level and do not ignite carbon disulfide, which has the lowest ignition point of any substance known to man. Therefore while “non-sparking” tools may lower the risk of a spark, they do not eliminate the possibility of sparks. The name “non-sparking” is misleading because these tools are capable of producing a spark: the term “reduced-sparking tools” better describes these tools. Non-metals like wood, leather, and plastic are suitable for some tools like shovels, scrapers or scoops and do not pose a friction spark hazard. Non-sparking tools provide protection against fires and explosions in environments where there is a concern about sparks igniting flammable solvents, vapors, liquids, dusts or residues.
It is important to assess each situation carefully and use the appropriate tools for the hazards that are present. In some cases, “non-sparking” tools may still be able to produce a spark. Contact the tool manufacturer, and the producer of the flammable material (for example) for recommendations and more information. It is also important to consider the metals used in the tools themselves. For example, beryllium has been associated with several health issues including cancer. While exposure to beryllium dust is likely very low with the general use of non-sparking tools, it may be a consideration grinding or polishing the tool itself.