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September 4, 1937


Author Affiliations

Assistant Medical Director, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company NEW YORK

JAMA. 1937;109(10):762-768. doi:10.1001/jama.1937.02780360010003

The increasing prominence of volatile solvents in modern industrial processes emphasizes the need of early recognition of any toxic action on exposed workers which, if recognized, may lead to corrective measures being adopted. Within the past few years the number of newly perfected solvents has steadily mounted, until today well in excess of 300 are in common use, contrasted with a bare half dozen used twenty years ago. One or more of the solvents are used in ever increasing quantity and variety in nearly every manufacturing industry today either as a solvent or as a diluent. They are employed as cleaning or degreasing agents, in lacquer coatings, in dyes and cement, as plasticizers, and as solvents of cellulose and gums of various kinds in a myriad of synthetic finishing materials.

The volatile solvent vapors enter the body chiefly through the respiratory passages, but appreciable quantities may either be ingested or