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Safety: Solvent Poisoning

Know the symptoms of solvent poisoning.

Even if you follow the recommended safety procedures, you may get solvent poisoning due to someone else not following them.

Suppose you're changing out a circuit breaker and use a mild solvent to clean the mating surfaces of connections. Though the risk is very low, you follow the MSDS and the product label instructions. You do this because know that toxicity tends to be cumulative, and the less your total exposure to all toxins, the better. But nearby, a mechanic is cleaning a fixture using a pleasant-smelling solvent. You smell this the whole time you're working. How can you know if you've been poisoned? Be alert for these symptoms:

  • Blurry vision.
  • Dizziness.
  • Headache.
  • Nausea.
  • Tingling sensations.

If these symptoms go away, does it mean you're OK after all? No, the disappearance of these initial symptoms means nothing. If you get any of these symptoms when around solvents, seek medical attention.

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