liquid chemicals that are found in clears, primers, basecoats, hardeners,
paint thinners and strippers, reducers, and cleaners degreasing
fluids. Common examples are mineral spirits, varsol, petroleum distillates,
and acetone. Many of these liquids are flammable, potentially toxic,
and have a strong odour.
VOCs. Air pollution occurs when they are released to the environment.
Both solvents and waste solvents can be hazardous to human health.
Prolonged exposure can cause nausea and headaches and, in extreme
cases, can be fatal.
You must protect
your health by minimizing your exposure to solvents by using the
proper protective equipment (gloves, respirators, face shields,
etc) that are recommended on the supplier's Material Safety Data
Sheet (MSDS). Minimize your exposure by avoiding contact with your
skin, not breathing the fumes, and never ingesting these liquids.
with proper local or general ventilation. Never wash your hands
in a solvent because this can result in defatting of your skin.
Use a commercial hand cleaner.
be stored in a manner that prevents any release, and that complies
with municipal and provincial fire codes. Avoid storing solvents
outside, but if you must, cover the containers to protect them from
Keep an up-to-date
inventory of the kinds of chemicals you have stored and where they
You can save
your shop a lot of money by recycling solvents. In most cases, used
solvents have not chemically degraded; they have just picked up
impurities. The recycling process separates the solvents from the
Dispose of used
solvents using a licensed waste hauler.
If spilled or
released indiscriminately, waste solvents can also threaten the
environment by contaminating water and soil and contributing to
air pollution. Therefore, containment and clean-up action should
begin as soon as possible to protect human health and the environment.
Cleaning up a contaminated site usually costs more money than storing
solvents properly in the first place.
Paint and Coating Association web site contains guidelines on safe
handling of paint strippers.