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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Use and abuse of volatile substances in industry.

1. Although there are trends towards the use of 'safer' or non-solvent materials, the overall consumption of solvents will probably not change very much over the next few years. Substitution of solvents by 'safer' materials is a complex and difficult process and the rate of change is correspondingly slow. 2. HSE exposure data show that generally industry controls most solvent use quite well. High personal exposures are not widespread and tend to occur in a fairly small number of premises involving 'end user' processes (mixing, spraying, etc). 3. Exposure in industry is generally to mixtures of solvents rather than single substances. The degree to which abuse is a contributory factor in exposure is uncertain, but there is probably greater opportunity for abuse to occur in 'end user' processes. 4. The experience of the author and colleagues in the HSE supports the evidence for the occurrence of volatile substance abuse (particularly of organic solvents) in industry but the extent of the practice is not known. 5. The proposed Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) will bring greater emphasis on the assessment of risks to health in industry, which must include the potential for abuse, together with appropriate training and supervision.[1]


  1. Use and abuse of volatile substances in industry. Parker, S.E. Human toxicology. (1989) [Pubmed]
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