Solvents, acute toxic effect


Acute Poisoning



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Organic solvents are volatile substances, usually liquid at room temperature, commonly used in the workplace as ingredients in paints and adhesives. They are often used as cleaners and degreasers. "The potency of solvents as general anesthetics and as defatting agents is directly proportionate to their lipid solubility." The systemic symptoms of acute solvent poisoning resemble those of intoxication from alcoholic beverages. [LaDou, p. 524-30] Increased albumin secretion, but no other biomarker of kidney injury, is associated with solvent exposure. [PMID 15895243] Like HARD liquor, organic solvents can cause: H--hepatotoxicity; heart sensitization; A--anesthesia; R--respiratory irritation; reaction time increased; D--dermatitis; Biological monitoring of exposed workers may be preferable to air monitoring because solvent uptake is greatly influenced by workload. [Zenz, p. 772] The most hepatotoxic solvents are hydrocarbons substituted with halogen or nitro groups. Weakly hepatotoxic solvents include aliphatic hydrocarbons and aromatic hydrocarbons. [LaDou, p. 535]


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Biological exposure indices (BEIs) for benzene, toluene, xylene, styrene, methyl chloroform (1-1-1-trichloroethane), and dimethylformamide; [ACGIH]

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OSHA Technical Links - Solvents

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