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Industrial Solvents

Industrial Solvents

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Industrial solvents, usually liquid substances, are used for cleaning, degreasing, paint stripping, and thinning oil-based paints. They are found in fuels, adhesives, glues, cleaning fluids, epoxy resins, lacquers, hardeners, paints, paint thinners, primers, and nail polish. Many soldiers use industrial solvents in order to accomplish their military tasks. Too much exposure to some industrial solvents can cause short term or long term health effects.

How a solvent impacts your health depends on:

  • The specific solvent
  • The level of concentration you are exposed to
  • How long you are exposed
  • How it enters your body


Health symptoms often depend on how you may have been exposed to the solvent including:

  • Breathing vapors (may irritate the eyes, cause drowsiness, cause difficulty with breathing; if severe, may cause neurological damage)
  • Direct eye contact (may cause burning and tearing; if severe, may cause visual problems)
  • Skin contact (may cause skin dryness, irritation, rashes, or chemical burns)
  • Ingestion (rare but can cause serious illness if ingested)

Ways that you can protect yourself from harmful solvent health effects include:

  • Read the product label thoroughly for warnings and directions for safe use
  • Wear protective clothing and protect your eyes and skin
  • Ensure adequate ventilation
  • Always use good hygiene and wash hands immediately after working with solvents



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