Chapter 7

Organic Solvents and Related Chemicals

Tis a sordid profit that’s accompanied by the destruction of health.

Treatise on the Diseases of Tradesmen, B. Ramazzini, 1705

Introduction

Organic solvents are common in the workplace where they may constitute an occupational hazard, but they also occur in the home in the form of cleaning solutions, paint strippers, and brush cleaners, and they can thus be a source of household poisoning as well as being an environmental hazard. Since they are all fat solvents they may cause local defatting of tissue and local irritation on contact. Many also are systemic toxicants affecting the CNS-like volatile anesthetics or, in some cases, the hematopoietic (blood-forming) system. Commercial solvents are ...

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