The Volatile Solvents Profile can help identify a patient's prolonged exposure to the most commonly found volatile solvents that have been shown to cause serious health problems.
Overexposure or chronic exposure to volatile solvents damages the central nervous system and causes chemical-driven liver and kidney damage. Benzene, in particular, has a severe toxic effect on the hematological system and is a recognized human carcinogen. Other solvents contribute to atrophy of skeletal muscles, loss of coordination, vision problems, and depression of the central nervous system.
Volatile solvents are routinely used in industrial processes to manufacture consumer products. A solvent is a liquid or gas used to dissolve a solid, liquid, or gas to create a new solution. Each year, annual production of these solvents numbers in the tens of billions of pounds in the United States.
Air and water pollution are common routes of exposure in both our homes and workplaces. We are also exposed by inhalation or ingestion of car exhaust, paints, glues, adhesives, and lacquer thinners. These volatile solvents are used in large numbers to produce items in our homes such as furniture, building materials, paint, shoes, cleaning and degreasing agents, inks, pharmaceuticals, and as additives to gasoline. For those living and working in urban areas, the exposure to this class of compounds goes on twenty-four hours a day.
Solvents are very damaging to bone marrow and have been associated with many of the bone marrow cancers as well as anemia and thrombocytopenia. They are also associated with immune disorders, including autoimmunity, chronic neurologic problems, and infertility.