Solvents are defined as substances capable of dissolving other substances to form uniformly dispersed mixtures. Although water is the most common solvent, it is the organic solvents (eg hydrocarbons and ethers) that are generally considered to be hazardous to health.

This topic covers the ways in which solvents can adversely affect health — particularly affecting the skin, lungs and the central nervous system — and the control measures that should be put in place to minimise the risks from solvents. This topic does not cover the Solvent Emissions Directive.

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