Friday, July 12, 2019

How To Safely Work With Solvent Vapors

By William Turner

Working with chemicals, even household ones, can be dangerous if you do not make sure you are following safety directions. Different products have properties that could cause them to be caustic if used or mixed improperly. The instructions that come with each product give specific details on how to best use them. Solvent vapors can occur when used and steps should be taken to be sure you are doing things in a safe manner.

Some short term risks can develop quickly. Dizziness and headaches are the first sign that you are being exposed to fumes too much. The longer this situation goes on, the more likely it will turn to nausea and vomiting. Eye irritation and a runny nose or sore throat can also be indications that you have been exposed to more fumes than is safe. If a chemical is spilled on your skin, you may experience burning or see a red spot or rash begin to form.

Long term health risks are more severe. These can easily lead to permanent damage. Such issues include throat and lung damage. Others will damage the liver and kidneys. Severe exposure can also lead to issues with the central nervous system and possibly cancer. Following safety precautions is absolutely critical if you work in a field where you are often exposed to solvents and other chemicals.

The first step to reducing the fumes is to provide the workspace with ventilation. Start by opening a window or door to let in more fresh air. If you are in an area that does not have that option, seek other ways to get air into the room. Using a fan, if the product fumes are not flammable, can be a good way to pull in air from a different area. In a closed in area, the fumes are likely to build up and increase the risk as they are used.

Masks should be worn to avoid breathing in the toxic fumes. The paper masks that are found in pharmacies are not enough to do the job. You need to get an industrial or paint mask that is designed with replaceable filters. This will help prevent the fumes from entering your lungs. Wearing a cloth or cheap mask is not a valid solution and will only increase the risk by making you think you are being properly protected. The mask should be checked to make sure it provides the correct rating on filtration.

Mixing products can be dangerous. If you are not sure what you are doing, do not mix products. This includes spraying one product on top of another before the first is washed away. Bases and acids do not mix and very dangerous fumes will occur. Before you mix anything, read the directions and safety sheet to be sure you are doing it correctly and at the right levels. When in doubt, simply do not mix chemicals.

Learn first aid steps before starting work. The first step is to move away from the work area and into a place with fresh air. If these means heading outside to get plenty of fresh air, then do so immediately upon feeling dizzy or having a headache. Have some sort of eye wash station available. There are bottle forms available that you can use if you splash something in your eyes. It comes with distilled water for cleaning your eyes. If you get chemicals on your skin, wash it off immediately. Anything that is swallowed requires immediate medical treatment. Even if first aid, you should call poison control to be sure what you need to do.

Safety is a critical step in working with solvents. Whether you're working with industrial chemicals or household versions, there are safety precautions that need to be followed. Make sure to handle them safely so they can do their job without hurting you or someone else. Read the safety instructions before starting any job.

About the Author:

No comments:

Post a Comment