What do you know about Organic solvents?

WorkSafe NZ issued a Safety Alert recently after  2 workers died in two separate incidents due to acute exposure to organic solvents.

One case involved a worker who was applying a UV treatment to windows, the second case a worker was applying adhesive while laying carpet.  Both workers fell unconscious and later died.  The UV treatment and the carpet adhesive contained Organic Solvents.

In these circumstances, short-term exposure to very high levels of organic solvent vapors can cause headache, dizziness and light headedness, progressing to unconsciousness, and death.

Organic solvents can be found in:

  • adhesives (cyclohexane, acetone, toluene)
  • paints and lacquers (toluene, xylene, methyl ethyl ketone)
  • de-greaser (tricholorethylene, perchloroethylene)
  • printing (turpentine, white spirits, xylene).

They enter the body, mainly through inhalation of vapor and through direct skin contact, and into the bloodstream where they can cause adverse health effects.


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