White Spirit Allergy?

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CitroJim
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White Spirit Allergy?

Post by CitroJim »

My workmates think I'm being a righ wuss :twisted:

Traditionally, I have always been a great fan of white spirit as a cheap and safe degreaser of all things. I used to use it with gay abandon and whilst not liking the aroma of the stuff much, it never seemed to do me any harm.

Starting with my house being redecorated, I found the vapours released from the newly applied oil-based paint to be absolutely intolerable and it really did make me feel unwell. I've had to have windows and doors open wide since and the vapours still linger and make me feel rough. It gives me something akin to asthma with bad sinuses, a headache and disturbed vision.

I thought it was just the paint but now I'm starting to wonder. Yesterday I was busy degreasing a diesel pump with white spirit and came over feeling really ropey despite doing the deed in a well ventilated area. Pervious to starting the job I was feeling very well.

Same happend again this morning when I caught a whiff of a white spirit soaked rag whilst putting the bins out.

Came to work and we have the decorators in. Caught more whiffs of the white spirit and same effects again.

This is not a new thing, it's no been going on for several weeks.

I'm finding white spirit everywhere I look just now.

I seem to have become really sensitive to it just recently. Anyone got any explanations to this?

I've read up on it and white spirit is seen as a reatively safe and harmless solvent although they do say that painters will likely suffer permanant brain damage after a lifetime of the stuff.

Given that I do have a problem with it, can anyone recommend a good, safe substitute degreasing solvent that is not water-based and is not too expensive.

If I can't find one, it's going to seriously restrict my spannering activities...
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myglaren
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Re: White Spirit Allergy?

Post by myglaren »

CitroJim wrote: I thought it was just the paint but now I'm starting to wonder. Yesterday I was busy degreasing a diesel pump with white spirit and came over feeling really ropey despite doing the deed in a well ventilated area. Pervious to starting the job I was feeling very well.

Same happend again this morning when I caught a whiff of a white spirit soaked rag whilst putting the bins out.

Came to work and we have the decorators in. Caught more whiffs of the white spirit and same effects again.

This is not a new thing, it's no been going on for several weeks.

I'm finding white spirit everywhere I look just now.

I seem to have become really sensitive to it just recently. Anyone got any explanations to this?
A similar thing has happened to me, I'm currently off work with asthma.
I have had a cough for thirty years induced, I believe, by carelessness with photographic chemicals together with excessive second hand cigarette smoke.

Over the past six months I have been stuck on a glue machine :) at work.
The glue is said to be harmless (which is why it has a big 'X' and a "Toxic" warning on it, no doubt)

Increasingly over the past couple of months I have had to leave work when exposed to cigarette smoke and more recently perfume*/deodorant/air freshener. I have had to change doctors as I can no longer enter my usual doctors reception area and still breath.

As said, this has been a cumulative thing and is triggered by the methyl isocyanate in the glue.

It may be overexposure to white spirit or due to something else that has sensitised you to it. Frequent showers of LHM may be a suspect.

I used to be a decorator and developed a reaction to it in the form of industrial dermatitis where my hands would become a mass of blisters, looked like Sago stuck to my hands. This abated over time and greater precautions with it.

I've read up on it and white spirit is seen as a reatively safe and harmless solvent although they do say that painters will likely suffer permanant brain damage after a lifetime of the stuff.
You have to start out with brain damage to be a painter - it is a legal requirement :)

Given that I do have a problem with it, can anyone recommend a good, safe substitute degreasing solvent that is not water-based and is not too expensive.
You might try real turpentine if you can get it, it isn't cheap and it stinks to high heaven but is not a petrochemical derivative so may not induce the same symptoms.
Can't think of any others offhand. Paraffin maybe?
If I can't find one, it's going to seriously restrict my spannering activities...
In future try and use water based undercoat and gloss, it has improved immensely over the past few years and on non-ferric surfaces is fine.


*there is one girl who only needs to walk into the factory and that is me done for the day.
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CitroJim
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Post by CitroJim »

You know steve, that all very similar to my reactions to lots of smelly things these days, I know exactly what you mean about perfume. Another odd thing is I know a lady who uses the nicotine chewing gum. The smell of that on her breath makes me feel sick.

Looking back, this started initially when I first started dabbling in autoboxes; the Esso LT fluid smells atrocious and it was making me feel very fuzzy headed and nauseous. It also upset my stomach on several occasions.

Seems the common factor is aromatic hydrocarbons (benzine rings) in the things we cannot tolerate.

I'm not at all good today after a day at work with the painters in and coming home to a house that's freshly painted. I painted half the woodwork in the lounge with oil-based gloss and promptly made my house uninhabitable for me. having been shut up all day makes it worse and the first thing I need to do now is throw all the doors and windows wide open.

After the experience, I swapped to water based paints and no problem with them at all.

LHM I seem to be OK with as well, thank goodness but that's not proved just yet. If I got an LHM allergy I'd be inconsolable..

Interesting on the natural turps. I shall try some if I can find some. Most seems to be turps substitute which of course is another aromatic hydrocarbon.

I seem Ok (I think, not sure) with aliphatic hydrocarbons as used in things like brake cleaner but the trouble is, they only seem available in aerosols and this is an expensive way of going about it.

Can they (or something similar) be got in gallon cans and if so, at what cost and from where?
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Post by spider »

CitroJim wrote: Can they (or something similar) be got in gallon cans and if so, at what cost and from where?
I have skin reactions (on my hands) to some detergents now, if its any consolation.

Regarding cleaning, you can buy thinners etc is gallon / tin cans from some motor factors I would guess. You can get brake / clutch cleaner in the same (I used to get it like that) , not sure if you are going to have to try a few brands to find one suitable for yourself though.
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Post by CitroJim »

Thanks Andy,

I shall go and chat up our local factors.

They know me well enough that I'm not after it for narcotic reasons :lol:
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Post by myglaren »

The Esso LT may have been the trigger then Jim. Might be worth trying to obtain the COSHH data for it - I'm still trying to get one for the Apollo polyurethane adhesive but found a lot of data from other sources of information on the relative toxicity of methylene isocyanate.
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Post by CitroJim »

myglaren wrote:relative toxicity of methylene isocyanate.
Bloody hell :shock: That's some nasty stuff..
Methyl isocyanate (MIC) is extremely toxic. The threshold limit value set by the American Conference on Government Industrial Hygienist was 0.02 ppm. MIC can damage by inhalation, ingestion and contact in quantities as low as 0.4 ppm. Damage includes coughing, chest pain, dyspnea, asthma, irritation of the eyes, nose and throat as well as skin damage. Higher levels of exposure, over 21 ppm, can result in pulmonary or lung edema, emphysema and hemorrhages, bronchial pneumonia and death. Although the odor of methyl isocyanate cannot be detected at 5 ppm by most people, its potent lachrymal properties provide an excellent warning of its presence (at a concentration of 2–4 parts per million (ppm) subject's eyes are irritated, while at 21 ppm subjects could not tolerate the presence of methyl isocyanate in air).[16]
One of the chemicals that let loose in the Bhophal disaster..

When it becomes an adhesive (polymerises) it becomes a ring. We're back to benzine rings again as the main cause here...
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Post by myglaren »

I see you found one of the references I discovered. Was preparing an "I 'aint doing this no more" document for work when I got put on the sick (and incidentally taken off that job when I return)
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Post by dnsey »

Myglaren - did your employer provide appropriate protective equipment as specified in the COSHH data sheet for the adhesive? If not, and the stuff has had a permanent effect on you (or a temporary one, for that matter) they could be in serious trouble!

Jim - I wonder if isopropanol would work for you - not as cheap as white spirit, but an effective degreaser, and relatively safe (flammable vapour, though).

Shortly after COSHH was introduced, I heard from a sales rep about the hand cleaner containing a small proportion of white spirit, which was required to declare on the label 'Do not allow contact with skin' :D

I'm as guilty as anyone else of mishandling solvents at home, but there's a real danger of prolonged contact causing permanent nerve damage. The many hours I've accumulated in the past using things like MEK with bare hands and no ventilation must have taken me near the limit!
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Post by KP »

Have you both though about face masks for use in such situations at all?? can provide links to good ones if needed?
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Post by addo »

Wood turpentine is hard to come by in usable quantities here. Shops do sell a "low odour turps" which is remarkably low in odour by comparison with the usual manufactured type. Is this offered in the UK?

Aside from that - if at al possible, can you get more ventilation in the place? I recall years ago, reading that requirements for horse stable ventilation were equal to forty changes in the room air per hour (by volume). Most "habitable dwellings" don't even come close - and then we also don't change the clothes which are soaked in odours.

What about SORN-ing the cars for six months, and picking up a job in Adelaide? Darwin will be too hot now.
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Post by CitroJim »

Adam, I can't get much better ventilation than outside!!!

I believe art shops do low odour white spirit. I understand it's been treated to remove the sulphur content.

I've tried isopropanol dnsey, but did not find it very powerful. However, I seem fine with those kind of solvents. Electrolube ULS, a 1,1,1, Trike substitute seems OK too but again, in small aerosols.

I've mis-handled solvents all my life. When I started in radio engineering, carbon tet was still about. Then Arklone and then Trike. All gone now because they were dodgy. At the time we were told they were fully safe...

Will, yes, I'm coming round to the facemask idea. What sort do I need?

I got hold of the MSDS for Esso LT71141 and they do state that whilst it's not tremendously toxic, it will cause dizziness and nausea if inhaled; they recommend a mask and gloves when handling it. I've certainly been very up close and personal to it...

Thanks all, much appreciate your thoughts :D
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Post by myglaren »

Myglaren - did your employer provide appropriate protective equipment as specified in the COSHH data sheet for the adhesive? If not, and the stuff has had a permanent effect on you (or a temporary one, for that matter) they could be in serious trouble!
I asked two months ago for COSHH data and haven't received it yet. Even emailed Apollo and no result other than they contacted my employers!

I feel a case of litigation looming - still have to sue them for the loss of a finger twp and a half years ago.
Have you both though about face masks for use in such situations at all?? can provide links to good ones if needed?
They bought me one - the materials used in the mask sent me home after trying it on :(
Wood turpentine is hard to come by in usable quantities here. Shops do sell a "low odour turps" which is remarkably low in odour by comparison with the usual manufactured type. Is this offered in the UK?
We used to have it in 5 gallon drums (this was before they invented Litres) and sloshed it around as though it were water. Stunk to high heaven. This was at tech. college.
At work we needed a purchase order signed by God and even then it wasn't east to get half a pint from them.
In those days it was essential for varnish, white spirit would bloom it.
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Post by KP »

Jim,

Maybe something like this would help??
Sealed units

Though the face masks are for bikes im sure they would help a little..

http://www.wiggle.co.uk/c/cycle/7/Anti_ ... asks/#2,20

To be honest if you have the space I would be tempted to make a sealed unit with vents and gloves myself as it wouldn't be too hard if you already have an old cabinet or such like.

Just need,
1 Cabinet of good size
2 sheets of Plexiglass
some good strong bonding agent
Some Gloves
2 PC case fans about 12cm size should do it.
Some ducting as used for shower extractor fans
2 holes in wall to vent
Some rubber beading for the plexiglass edges.

:)

Someone like yourself could knock that together in an afternoon Jim :)

I would also put one vent on the outlet of the unit and the other at the wall end of that outlet so it is constantly pulling the air out of it through natural flow.[/url]
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Post by citronut »

Jim wrote
"with gay abandon"

so you came over all quear then Jim :shock:

anyhow arnt you ment to drink the stuff not sniff it or rub it in your skin :roll:


regards malcom