OldTools Archive

Recent Bios FAQ

214106 w.taggart@v... 2011‑02‑23 Re: RE: cleaning oilstones
On Feb 23, 2011, Philip Yarra  wrote: 

> :: Here's an MSDS for a slow reducer, contains
> ::
> :: *Toluene
> :: Light Aliphatic Solvent
> :: Naphtha
> :: Acetone
> :: *2-Butoxyethanol
> :: *Mixed Xylenes
> :: *Methanol
> :: *Ethylbenzene

:: In addition to going bang, aren't some of these fairly carcinogenic, or 
:: carry other serious health risks? Fairly sure about xylene, and I have a 
:: feeling same might be true of toluene and benzenes.

You might be surprised at how few chemicals are known - or even "suspected" - to
 be carcinogenic.  And it also depends on whose definition of "carcinogen" you'r
e using.  In the USA, for example, several federal agencies rely on the Internat
ional Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifications.  

Benzene = yes.  It's one of the few chemicals actually known to be carcinogenic.

Xylene, I don't think so, but I'd have to check.  Toluene, also not so sure.  

The big problem with most of the volatile organics is acute toxicity.  Organic s
olvents dissolve lipids.  As such they can cause central nervous system damage a
nd have affects on target organs - e.g., kidney, liver, etc.  

And there's simple overexposure causing you to essentially become "drunk" from t
he vapors.

None of them are good for you, and you'd have to be exposed to a LOT to die righ
t away.  Basically it's a good idea to keep exposure as low as you can.  Common 
sense protection is to wear gloves (these all will de-fat your skin), wear eye p
rotection, use in a well-ventilated area (outdoors), keep your face away from th
e stuff, and if you're going to use a lot of the stuff or do any spraying, wear 
a properly-fitting respirator with organic vapor cartridges.  

Oh yeah - methanol is poisonus - and it absorbs quickly and readily through your
 lungs, mucous membranes and skin.

Funny thing is, most people don't understand how dangerous gasoline actually is,
 because it seems like such a common, everday thing.  But it contains benzene, t
oluene, ethylbenzene, xylene, and other lovelies - in addition to having a flash
point something like 50 degrees below 0 F.   

- Bill T.

Recent Bios FAQ