How to Handle Solvents
Protect yourself from exposure to Solvents!
Very small exposures over many months can harm you, so can one large exposure. A very large exposure can kill you.
Working with solvents can make you feel dizzy, uncoordinated, punch drunk, additionally they can cause headaches, nausea, stomach pains, skin rashes, cracking and or bleeding skin or irritated eyes, nose and throat.
Some solvents can blind you, destroy your kidneys or liver, or affect your nervous system. Some solvents can add to your risk of irregular heart beats which can kill you. Some can cause cancer. You should be trained in Hazard Communication about chemicals and how to read a MSDS.
This is what you can do:
- Read the labels and the MSDS (material safety data sheet) for each solvent that you will use.
- Don’t get solvents on your skin.
- When you use gloves, check the MSDS to make sure the gloves protect against the solvent that you are using.
- Wash your hands before you smoke, eat or drink.
- Don’t smoke, eat or drink where solvents are used.
- Do not breathe solvent vapors.
- Use the smallest container you can.
- Throw out rags that have solvents on them. To prevent fires, put them in special containers.
- Work with solvents only where there is fresh air.
- You may need to use a respirator with some solvents. Make sure you refer to the MSDS and use the right cartridge or supplied-air respirators when necessary. Remember, respirators cartridges must be changed regularly.