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View Full Version : Solvents cause long-term cognitive impairment (study)



Phil Thien
05-13-2014, 6:52 PM
Saw this study and thought it was interesting. Basically the study says exposure to solvents can cause long-term cognitive impairment.

http://www.scienceworldreport.com/articles/14660/20140513/long-term-cognitive-problems-on-exposure-to-paint-glue-degreasers.htm

Many of us use volatile solvent-based products in our finishing, so I thought this was a good reminder to ventilate and wear a mask.

Andrew Fleck
05-13-2014, 7:08 PM
Thanks for posting this. I try to wear my respirator and gloves every time I mess with solvents anymore. That wasn't always the case. I'm glad I smartened up in that area.

I just wonder what seemingly safe product is actually very bad for you right now. Lead paint, asbestos, etc. come to mind when I think about things like this. I'm sure people working with that stuff had no idea it was real bad for them.

Kev Williams
05-13-2014, 8:21 PM
I always take these "studies" with a grain of salt. With all due respect to the dangers of solvents, it's entirely plausible that similar results would be found testing 2100 people in completely different environments.

It reminds me of a young mom on the news about a week ago when the wind around here knocked the power out. She said she was worried for her infant child, as "it will be traumatic for him to have a bath without the light on".

"Traumatic?" Where did she learn that?

Probably some study... ;)

Bruce Volden
05-13-2014, 11:49 PM
When I was a young boy I remember the b/w television guy saying that 9 out of 10 doctors preferred Chesterfields!?
yep, grain of salt stuff. I can say this because I don't do it for a living tho I suppose.

Bruce

David Weaver
05-13-2014, 11:55 PM
I wouldn't discount the studies on solvents. Most of the common solvents have been known to cause nervous system problems, fertility issues or any number of other things in large doses. that probably means the effects of lots of smaller doses isn't good, either.

However, if you look at everything you do in a given day, life is temporary, live it how you want to. My wife has been nutty about ewg.org and all of the different products rated on there, but at the end of the day, I don't get worked up too much about it - if you truly try to go to a no harm ever kind of life environment, there is very little you can use or do (use water for everything maybe, even the soaps are bad stuff, including plain old homemade washing soda and borax laundry soap), and it seems worse to me to live a life with complete restriction the whole time than it does to get a little dumber over a long period of time.

Greg Peterson
05-14-2014, 12:00 AM
Thanks for the link, Phil.

Bill Cunningham
05-14-2014, 12:01 AM
Things have changed! I remember scooping up mercury in my hands during science class. In grade three, the teacher would mix up a batch of asbestos and water for the class to use like modeling clay. It would dry and we could paint our creations, with in all probability a lead based paint.

Brian Elfert
05-14-2014, 12:18 AM
A friend of mine works with epoxy and polyester resin fairly often and he uses no gloves or respirator. I'm surprised he hasn't developed an allergy to epoxy. I always use gloves with epoxy and will wear a respirator if I mix more than a tiny amount.

Jack Terpack
05-14-2014, 11:22 AM
In the early 70's, I worked in a resin plant in Pittsburgh. We dealt with all these solvents on a daily basis in large quantities. OSHA and several other agencies forced us to take part in a study. We manufactured all kinds of resins and were the largest producer of Phthalic Anhydride (sacharin) in the country. We dealt with thousands of gallons of benzene every day. We literally put benzene on cuts to help healing.

They tested, questioned and investigated over 2000 past and present employees.

It turned out that we had far lower rates of illnesses than the national averages. We were amongst the most healthy group they ever tested.

Because we didn't "fit" the results they were trying to prove, they dismissed the results of their findings.

Do not believe anything that comes out of these studies. They are rigged to "verify" what they want to verify. Especially if the government or any ivy league school is involved.

Besides, "Living is hazardous to your health."


Jack

Myk Rian
05-14-2014, 12:16 PM
Because we didn't "fit" the results they were trying to prove, they dismissed the results of their findings.
I used some of the most Gawd awful solvents during my Apprenticeship in the 70s. We carried it around in buckets, and poured it on machinery to clean it. Even used it to clean our hands. Hasn't acfetfed me one bit.

We also used huge amounts of mercury. We had the company test our shop floor, (wood block with tar overlay) and even dumped some on the floor before they got there. Guess what? They found no mercury. Why did that surprise us?

David Weaver
05-14-2014, 12:21 PM
Besides, "Living is hazardous to your health."



That is exactly my point. Even if they are harmful to a small extent, slowly making us dumber over time, it's not like we aren't exposed to hazards all the time. To me, the big things are worth worrying about, the little slow acting things where hobbyists are involved (and this includes dust to me, I still can't make sense of the whole ambient dust craze for hobbyists - i understand not breathing the dust right off of a sander, but the rest of it...jeez), I couldn't care much less about that stuff.

That includes getting solvents on my hand sometimes or using briwax without a respirator, etc. I just can't imagine the little bits that most of us do that stuff will make a significant difference in the long term. If it lowers our iqs as hobbyists by 1 or 2 by the time we're 80, who cares? I like using the stuff and making things with it.

One of my favorite things to tell people is that if they are not terminal, they are much more likely to worry about the wrong thing killing them than the correct thing. (e.g., some people constantly worry that they're going to get cancer, or they worry that they're going to have a heart attack, or a stroke, etc, and they go to great and completely unreasonable efforts to try to minimize their exposure to a certain perilous event and they likely end up guessing wrong when something else that they never worried about proves to be terminal)

Wade Lippman
05-14-2014, 12:37 PM
A friend of mine works with epoxy and polyester resin fairly often and he uses no gloves or respirator. I'm surprised he hasn't developed an allergy to epoxy. I always use gloves with epoxy and will wear a respirator if I mix more than a tiny amount.

I always wear gloves with epoxy (though I always manage to get some on my skin anyhow), but why a respirator?

Wade Lippman
05-14-2014, 12:39 PM
Things have changed! I remember scooping up mercury in my hands during science class. In grade three, the teacher would mix up a batch of asbestos and water for the class to use like modeling clay. It would dry and we could paint our creations, with in all probability a lead based paint.

Ever have the shoe store xray your feet to see how the shoes fit? It was probably the same radiation as 1000 xrays today.

Rick Potter
05-14-2014, 12:51 PM
I hope they never do a study on milk and cookies.

Duane Meadows
05-14-2014, 1:03 PM
I hope they never do a study on milk and cookies.

They have... well milk anyway. Google effects of pastuerized milk. May make you stop drinking the stuff, if you haven't already.

That said you can probably find a study to support just about any point of view. If not... well if you have enough money, just have your own study done!

Pat Barry
05-14-2014, 1:12 PM
Things have changed! I remember scooping up mercury in my hands during science class. .
These days, if there is a broken mercury thermometer they evacuate the entire school, and that's a fact

Garth Sheane
05-14-2014, 1:14 PM
I gotta think that frequency / volume / etc figures into this somehow. Does the study make a distinction between people who use solvents infrequently (like a hobbyist) and people who are regularly exposed as part of their job? I have really large hands and getting those latex or plastic gloves (even the "large" size) is a chore. I figure the few minutes that I am wiping something down with solvent using my bare fingers to hold the rag isn't going to make a difference, since I might do this once every few weeks on average.

Jim Rimmer
05-14-2014, 1:56 PM
They have... well milk anyway. Google effects of pastuerized milk. May make you stop drinking the stuff, if you haven't already.

That said you can probably find a study to support just about any point of view. If not... well if you have enough money, just have your own study done!


I hope they never do a study on milk and cookies.

I heard a comedian's answer to this one. His sister nagged him about milk and told him that humans are the only animal in the world that drink milk as adults. He replied that it is because only humans have cookies.

Art Mann
05-14-2014, 2:00 PM
I can't spend too much time worrying about the use of solvents as a (mostly) hobby woodworker because I have two other far more serious situations to worry about. They are as follows:

1) I don't have a Sawstop table saw and everyone keeps telling me it is inevitable that I am going to cut my fingers off. After all, I only have 40 years of experience without incident and it could happen just any day now.

2) I am going to die from inhaling wood dust. The reason I know this is that some guy with severe respiratory problems that are, by his own admission, totally unrelated to woodworking, created a website that says so. Any level of wood dust exposure is harmful and every woodworking machine I own, including my pencil sharpener, must have at least 1000 cfm of dust collection. Even though he is neither a doctor nor an engineer, what he says must be true because I read it on the internet.

Michael Weber
05-14-2014, 2:21 PM
every woodworking machine I own, including my pencil sharpener, must have at least 1000 cfm of dust collection. Even though he is neither a doctor nor an engineer, what he says must be true because I read it on the internet.
Hey Art, do you have a picture or drawing of how you adapted the collector to your pencil sharpener? I need to get to that pronto.;)

Dave Sheldrake
05-14-2014, 2:42 PM
Meh....forget the solvents, Fukushima is going to kill all of us anyways....

cheers

Dave

Brian Elfert
05-14-2014, 2:54 PM
I always wear gloves with epoxy (though I always manage to get some on my skin anyhow), but why a respirator?

There are fumes associated with epoxy that can cause one to get sensitive to epoxy. In most cases the fumes don't really present a danger. When I use a large amount of epoxy I will wear a respirator out of an abundance of caution.

Curt Harms
05-15-2014, 9:22 AM
Basically the study says exposure to solvents can cause long-term cognitive impairment.

I wonder how that risk compares to watching network TV shows or political ads? :p

glenn bradley
05-15-2014, 9:57 AM
Solvents are no problem. I never use a mask. Wait . . . . uh . . . . what were we talking about?

Rich Engelhardt
05-15-2014, 9:57 AM
Study?
We don't need no stinking study! :D

There's two different groups of common solvents a typical shop can have:
- Aliphatic - paint thinner/mineral spirits & to a certain degree, VMP Naptha.

- Aromatic - toluene, xylene, lacquer thinner.

The former, aliphatic, is fairly safe to use with decent ventilation.
The latter, the aromatics, are the ones "huffers" use to get high.
A typical "huffer", after repeated exposure, is more or less nothing but a drooling incoherent shell of what was once a human being.

One upon a time many years ago, I had some xylol on my hands and picked up a grass hopper.
The effect of the xylol on it's CNS was devastating.
It shuddered and it's back legs bent up and out and over it's head before it died.

Seeing what happens to huffers and grass hoppers exposed to an aromatic solvent tells me all I need to know about staying away from some solvents - if not all solvents.


Because we didn't "fit" the results they were trying to prove, they dismissed the results of their findings.

Do not believe anything that comes out of these studies. They are rigged to "verify" what they want to verify. Especially if the government or any ivy league school is involved.Don't even get me started on the cigarette and drug studies that have been pushed down the public throat.....grrr...

Charles Wiggins
05-15-2014, 10:01 AM
Saw this study and thought it was interesting. Basically the study says exposure to solvents can cause long-term cognitive impairment.

http://www.scienceworldreport.com/articles/14660/20140513/long-term-cognitive-problems-on-exposure-to-paint-glue-degreasers.htm

Many of us use volatile solvent-based products in our finishing, so I thought this was a good reminder to ventilate and wear a mask.

Am I the only one who looked at this and thought, "Duh! Why are they wasting time studying that, (again)?"

I thought this was already common knowledge. It was one of the first things I learned in art school. Of course the long-term effects will vary dependent on which solvent, the nature of the exposure, and frequency and duration of exposure. And I agree with David, though. Live how you want, just be informed, and be prepared to live with the consequences.

I went to grad school at East Carolina U. with a guy who had worked at Grady-White Boats and they had old-timers there who had the shakes from working fiberglass all those years, often without respirators. Correlation vs. causation? IDK.

My wife's paternal grandma worked in a book factory gluing the books together for over 20 years. Among the effects of the long term exposure to the chemicals was COMPLETE loss of gustatory/olfactory sensation. In other words, she could no longer smell or taste anything. That's scarier than it sounds. Imagine not knowing if something is burning until you see smoke or feel heat? When smoke detectors hit the mass market it was honestly a gift from God. Toward the end of her life she no interest in eating. Nothing tastes good, so why bother? It was just another chore she did not want to mess with, and I feel sure that contributed to her rapid decline at the end. Her sense of touch seems to have been diminished as well. We have no idea what other ailments were caused by this exposure.

Andrew Joiner
05-15-2014, 1:44 PM
more or less nothing but a drooling incoherent shell of what was once a human being.





Rich, That describes me! I spent years doing plastic laminate work, I guess I should have worn a respirator.:)

Seriously I can only report my experience. I've had Hepatitis C since 1967. A blood test revealed I have Hep C in 2002. People with Hep C need to avoid inhaling fumes and smoke because the liver is the filter for all the toxins that enter the body. I was a hard working cabinetmaker from 1970 to 1991. Applied miles of plastic laminate and cleaned it with lacquer thinner. Never wore a mask,gloves or used dust collection. All those toxins and I had a weak liver and didn't know it.

Luckily I got clean and sober in 1975. Even a little alcohol is a huge liver toxin for those with Hep C.

I'm now a retired hobby woodworker. I usually wear a respirator and take more precautions with solvents,but only on big jobs. I'm definitely not a fanatic about dust collection.

For many years I was abusing my liver that I had no idea was weakened by the Hep C.
Luckily today I'm in excellent health for a 63 year old. It may be solvents aren't that toxic or I'm genetically unique,but in my case it's a miracle I'm alive.

Tom M King
05-15-2014, 2:03 PM
I've been trying to tell this to my Mother for years about pesticides and herbicides. She gets the stuff on her hands all the time working on her Rose Garden, but it's hard to tell a clear headed 98 year old woman anything.

ray hampton
05-15-2014, 6:18 PM
I've been trying to tell this to my Mother for years about pesticides and herbicides. She gets the stuff on her hands all the time working on her Rose Garden, but it's hard to tell a clear headed 98 year old woman anything.

I can get alcohol or other liquids on my skin [hands or arms ]and I can taste some of them in seconds

Jim Matthews
05-15-2014, 7:03 PM
Do not believe anything that comes out of these studies. They are rigged to "verify" what they want to verify. Especially if the government or any ivy league school is involved.

Besides, "Living is hazardous to your health."


Jack

Shenanigans


You're out of your depth, lecturing with a chip on your shoulder.
Spare us the Libertarian theology.


The plural of anecdote isn't data.

This open questioning of the scientific method as if it were driven by an agenda is setting this country into reverse.

The blanket condemnation of OHSA as some sort of conspiratorial entity, purposely manipulated by the presence of Ivy League professionals
is just plainly stupid on it's face and betrays a deep lack of curiosity into cause, effect and what handling of poisons in the workplace means.

Where did you get your degree in epidemiology, if I may ask?

http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/intheworkplace/benzene

https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/toluene/

Since when did ignorance become a point of view?

paul cottingham
05-15-2014, 7:20 PM
Shenanigans


You're out of your depth, lecturing with a chip on your shoulder.
Spare us the Libertarian theology.


The plural of anecdote isn't data.

This open questioning of the scientific method as if it were driven by an agenda is setting this country into reverse.

The blanket condemnation of OHSA as some sort of conspiratorial entity, purposely manipulated by the presence of Ivy League professionals
is just plainly stupid on it's face and betrays a deep lack of curiosity into cause, effect and what handling of poisons in the workplace means.

Where did you get your degree in epidemiology, if I may ask?

http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/intheworkplace/benzene

https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/toluene/

Since when did ignorance become a point of view?

That's good stuff, right there.

My daughter has autism, and one of the consequences is that she is super sensitive to fumes from solvents. One whiff, and she spirals off. I have been sober for 30 years, so I avoid nasty solvents anyways, just to give my liver and sobriety a fighting chance, but my daughter sealed it. I now avoid pretty well anything with a strong solvent in it. Like Ray, even skin contact can be pretty unpleasant. Wife complains less when I am finishing now as well.

Dave Sheldrake
05-15-2014, 7:56 PM
Solvents of ANY kind can be dangerous, no matter what their chemical base, some more so that others but in reality anybody that needs a government / university study to tell them that really shouldn't be playing with the stuff anyhows.

The link between Benzene and Multiple Myeolma has been reasoned for many years, principally from dirty military vehicles and petrol but there are still those that think nothing of washing their oily hands in gas.....

cheers

Dave

Larry Frank
05-15-2014, 9:01 PM
I am absolutely shocked.....it took a page and a half before someone took a shot at a SawStop.

Anyone who wants to inhale the solvents and handle them with indifference is more than welcome to do so....at their own risk. If they do, they may be nominated for the Darwin Awards.

I have worked with a table saw for 40 years and still have all my fingers and I bought a SawStop a year or so ago.

Freedom is a Great Thing

Tom M King
05-15-2014, 9:05 PM
Sadly, all the floor finishers I've known over the years, that were anything like as old as I was, are all gone now. The ones that I heard the causes of were all liver damage. One didn't drink.

David Weaver
05-15-2014, 9:06 PM
I am absolutely shocked.....it took a page and a half before someone took a shot at a SawStop.

Anyone who wants to inhale the solvents and handle them with indifference is more than welcome to do so....at their own risk. If they do, they may be nominated for the Darwin Awards.

I have worked with a table saw for 40 years and still have all my fingers and I bought a SawStop a year or so ago.

Freedom is a Great Thing

I missed it. I have the urge for a soylent green moment, though.

Sawstops are people!! They're Peeeeeooopppplllleeee!!!!!

Art Mann
05-15-2014, 10:51 PM
I am absolutely shocked.....it took a page and a half before someone took a shot at a SawStop.

Anyone who wants to inhale the solvents and handle them with indifference is more than welcome to do so....at their own risk. If they do, they may be nominated for the Darwin Awards.

I have worked with a table saw for 40 years and still have all my fingers and I bought a SawStop a year or so ago.

Freedom is a Great Thing

So, are you another one of those people who believe I am going to amputate my fingers even though your own life experience (as well as mine) illustrates that the probability is extremely low? I don't think people who buy Sawstops are stupid. If they are worried about their safety and the machine relieves those anxieties, then it is worth it. I think people who don't know me or anything about my skills telling me I will eventually cut my fingers off are stupid.

Greg Peterson
05-16-2014, 12:18 AM
Shenanigans


You're out of your depth, lecturing with a chip on your shoulder.
Spare us the Libertarian theology.


The plural of anecdote isn't data.

This open questioning of the scientific method as if it were driven by an agenda is setting this country into reverse.

The blanket condemnation of OHSA as some sort of conspiratorial entity, purposely manipulated by the presence of Ivy League professionals
is just plainly stupid on it's face and betrays a deep lack of curiosity into cause, effect and what handling of poisons in the workplace means.

Where did you get your degree in epidemiology, if I may ask?

http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/intheworkplace/benzene

https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/toluene/

Since when did ignorance become a point of view?

+1. Spot on, Jim.

Joel Goodman
05-16-2014, 10:18 PM
I think we get "danger fatigue" from all the warnings -- after all here is CA every parking structure "contains chemicals that ..cause cancer" ie the fuel in the cars! I would love to see warning labels that were graded -- low risk to high risk -- rather than the legal warning that doesn't tell us much. How about a scale of 1 to 10 in toxicity? I know the lobbyists would all be working to "fix" the classifications but it would be a start. Same problem as when you get an operation -- you sign a form saying you understand that the procedure may kill you -- not really very helpful in making an informed decision. We are all bad at assessing risk and could use the benefit of what knowledge is out there - presented in a concise fashion for idiots like me.

Larry Frank
05-16-2014, 10:54 PM
I am trying to figure out where I implied that anyone was going to amputate fingers. I apologize if I gave anyone that impression but it was nowhere in my post. I said "Freedom is a Great Thing" implying that everyone can do what they want and what they feel is necessary. No more and no less. If you want to buy a SawStop, then you should do it. If you do not think that it is needed then do not buy one.

I am sorry that this thread has gone the SawStop way instead of focusing on the issue at hand which is the dangers of inhaling various toxic vapors.

Art Mann
05-17-2014, 1:28 AM
I am trying to figure out where I implied that anyone was going to amputate fingers. I apologize if I gave anyone that impression but it was nowhere in my post. I said "Freedom is a Great Thing" implying that everyone can do what they want and what they feel is necessary. No more and no less. If you want to buy a SawStop, then you should do it. If you do not think that it is needed then do not buy one.

I am sorry that this thread has gone the SawStop way instead of focusing on the issue at hand which is the dangers of inhaling various toxic vapors.

You erroneously accused me of taking a shot a Sawstop. It is you who are misinterpreting my words. I was taking a shot at the people on so many other threads who have directly told me or others that "it was only a question of time" before we cut our fingers off in a table saw accident. Based on your rather odd response, I was just wondering if you were one of those people.

If I wanted to take a shot at Sawstop, I would simply say that I never intend to do business with a company whose CEO spends huge amounts of money lobbying Congress to take away my right to buy a table saw without their special expensive technology. He isn't motivated by safety. He is motivated by greed, IMO.

Jim Matthews
05-17-2014, 9:45 AM
I would simply say that I never intend to do business with a company whose CEO spends huge amounts of money lobbying Congress to take away my right to buy a table saw without their special expensive technology. He isn't motivated by safety. He is motivated by greed, IMO.

Libertarian Theology.

People said the same thing about seat belts.

Go work in a Trauma center for a couple years.
I've seen what inaction looks like.

Spare us the "personal responsibility" and "reasonable risk" tropes.

You heard a dog whistle that nobody blew.

Phil Thien
05-17-2014, 10:23 AM
Okay speaking of SawStop, when the heck are they going to ship the portable/worksite version? I really want a SawStop but a truly portable saw would really be better for me than a stationary saw. The contractor's saw version isn't really portable, either.

I've told my wife that when they ship the portable version, that I would like to get one. She thinks it is a terrific idea.

SAWSTOP: Get the design done and ship it, please.

This entire permanent delay thing reminds me of the way Microsoft (and others) use to announce vaporware, which was software they hadn't even started to write yet. The entire purpose of announcing it was to kill the sales of a competitor's product (people would wait to see how the Microsoft product looked before making a purchasing decision).