Many different kinds of solvents are used in industry today. Some of these are rather toxic. Every practicing physician is liable to encounter patients who are suffering from the effects of overexposure to these solvents. It is well, therefore, to become aware of their toxic properties and to review the symptoms and treatment of overexposure to them.
The common solvents can be classified into groups. These include the aromatic hydrocarbons, the chlorinated hydrocarbons, petroleum distillates, ketones, esters, alcohols and carbon disulfide. The toxicity of these compounds varies considerably. It is impossible to discuss here all of the various members of these groups; consequently, for the sake of brevity, representative members will be discussed.
Representative of the aromatic hydrocarbons is benzene. It is considered to be one of the most dangerous of the industrial solvents. It can be absorbed by the respiratory tract, the alimentary tract and probably the