Solvent vapors in the Air

inhalation of solvents

 Solvent Vapors

Many solvents evaporate quickly, which results in harmful solvent vapors in the air, creating not only fire risks but also health risks for employees.  Because most solvents send vapors into the air, inhalation is the most common route of exposure. Some solvents are more toxic than others, even with low toxicity solvents, an exposure to extremely high levels can cause sudden death. Some solvents have strong odors even at harmless levels while others have no odor at dangerous levels. “Once inhaled, solvent vapors can quickly move into the bloodstream.

  • Inhalation of solvent vapors will often start with symptoms such as headache or dizziness.
  • Workers who inhale vapors in high enough concentrations might also feel nausea and might vomit.
  • After being exposed to solvent vapors, employees might feel tired and drowsy for a while.
  • Many people will also experience a sore throat along with respiratory irritation and trouble breathing.
  • Blurred vision may also occur after breathing a heavy concentration of solvent vapor.
  • And, if workers are exposed to high concentrations of solvent vapors for too long, they could become unconscious.

Fortunately, in cases of inhalation of low concentrations of solvent vapors, symptoms often pass relatively quickly without causing permanent damage. Workers who are exposed to solvent liquids and vapors for many years, however, can suffer more serious health problems.” (Source: