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Paint Thinner-Mineral Spirits


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#1 Dee

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Posted 27 August 2007 - 03:26 PM

Paint thinner is erroneously thought to be relatively harmless. How many times have
you washed your paint-covered hands with thinner after the day's work? The immediate
effects associated with paint thinner use include upper respiratory irritation, a feeling of
drunkenness, loss of coordination, headache, and nausea if inhaled, and chapped, over-dry
skin following skin contact. A splash in the eye can cause corneal damage, and the vapors
from thinner can be irritating to the eyes. Chronic, long-term effects include nervousness
and blood disorders such as aplastic anemia.

Again, ventilation and/or use of a suitable respirator will reduce the risk of harmful effects
from paint thinner vapors. One of the real dangers of petroleum distillates is that they're
easily absorbed through the skin. There is evidence that indicates the effects of these toxins
is cumulative.

So follow the precaution on the label. "Avoid repeated or prolonged skin contact." Wear
rubber gloves when handling mineral spirits. If you do splash some on your skin, wash
immediately with soap and water. Use a barrier cream or petrolatum (Vaseline) before
painting to keep paint from soaking into your pores. Use cold cream or hand cleaner to
wash your hands.

There's a condition known as chronic painter's disease, which is marked by
anxiety or depression, coinciding with liver and kidney damage. While this is affliction
affects only career painters who have never followed safe paint practices, it's an indication
of the potential health hazards of volatile components of paint. Paint thinners are rich in
petroleum distillates. Thinners enter the body through breathing of vapors and direct
absorption through the skin. Protective clothing and adequate ventilation are your best
defenses.
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