September 18, 1954


Author Affiliations


From the Kettering Laboratory, Department of Preventive Medicine and Industrial Health, and Department of Internal Medicine, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

JAMA. 1954;156(3):234-237. doi:10.1001/jama.1954.02950030026009

There is scarcely an industrial plant or a business that does not use some solvents. The kinds and the quantities vary from the can of type cleaner in the secretary's desk to tank car loads of less familiar substances used as degreasing agents in the metal trades or as vehicles in the manufacture of chemicals. There are hazards in the handling of all solvents because of their appreciable volatility. Some danger may be recognized by the user, but flammability and explosiveness are more likely to be considered than physiological action.

The selection of a solvent for a specific purpose depends on technological factors, such as required action, volatility, handling practice (including vapor recovery), the tendency of the substance to leave a residual film on metal surfaces, cost, and availability. The safety aspect may be introduced as a last consideration but, perhaps, only in terms of risk of fire or explosion.

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