Solvent Related Illnesses at Work

Solvents are possibly the most extensively used chemicals that workers get exposed to. In addition, it is the most unsafe. Solvents made of organic components can cause diseases such as cancer, heart disease, blood illnesses, brain injury, problems in the nervous system, injury to the liver and kidneys, and may cause sterility or affect development of children in the womb.

Identifying the uses of solvents

Solvents can be artificially produced and have different uses such as degreaser or component for chemical synthesis. It is important to determine what solvents are used, how they affect one’s health in any process, and how to protect self from the risks.

Exposure limits

Exposure limits are not excellent indicators to determine how toxic a solvent is. Majority of the exposure limits were arranged with no apparent idea if the limits were in fact useful and protective. Majority of the limits have to be lessened, particularly for hydrocarbon substances. It is vital to assert strongly that the company maintains minimal levels.

Impacts to health

Solvents affect the central nervous system by causing depression or narcosis. When the system is infiltrated with solvents up to toxic levels symptoms include alcohol intoxication, nausea, and headache. When exposed too high, a person may experience convulsions, lightheadedness, and person may become comatose. Continuous exposure to low levels of solvents can cause malaise, loss of appetite, easily irritated, and individual may experience changes in personality.

Solvents that affect the peripheral nervous system damagingly include carbon disulfide, methyl butyl ketone, and n-hexane. The rates of nerve impulses that travel from the spinal cord toward to upper and lower limbs are slowed down. This results to a condition with symptoms such as lack of feeling, weakness to the extent of paralysis of the extremities referred to as peripheral neuropathy.

Solvent exposure can also result to heart disease. Hundred death incidences within a period of five years due to sniffing products that contain solvents were found to relate solvents and heart ailments. Hydrocarbon solvents can cause arrhythmia. Workers exposed to methylene chloride, chloroform, benzene, carbon tetrachloride among other substances or solvents possibly will develop arrhythmias.

Solvents may be converted into less hazardous chemicals through the liver. The by-product of this converting process is eliminated through the kidneys. Consequently, the liver and kidneys are badly affected when exposed to solvents. When the liver is damaged, the affected person may experience appetite loss, dizziness, foul taste in mouth, and problems in the stomach. Kidney functioning can fail following acute or chronic exposure for years.

Workers who were exposed to halogenated hydrocarbons were included in a Finnish research study. Risk of different cancers include the organs like the liver, lung, pancreas, bladder, kidney, the nervous system, and blood formation system, including the reproductive system’s cervix and uterus. Solvent workers who are female showed immense incidences of reported cervical cancer. The causes are both socioeconomic and occupational.

Men and women exposed to organic solvents may possibly affect development of fetus if a partner or spouse gets pregnant. Increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, and perinatal death.