Mineral spirits is a petroleum distillate commonly used as a paint thinner and mild solvent. Artists use mineral spirits as an alternative to turpentine, one that is both less flammable and less toxic. Because of interactions with pigments, artists require a higher grade of mineral spirits than many industrial users, including the complete absence of residual sulfur. Odorless mineral spirits, or OMS, such as Rublesol, are mineral spirits that have been further refined to remove the more toxic aromatic compounds, and are recommended for applications such as oil painting, where humans have close contact with the solvent.
Mineral spirits can be used to dilute MSA Gel and MSA Varnishes that are not completely soluble in odorless mineral spirits.
Mineral spirits (CAS No. 64475-85-0], also known as Stoddard solvent (CAS No. 8052-41-3) or white spirits (U.K.), is a paraffin-derived clear, transparent liquid that is a common organic solvent used in painting and decorating. It is a mixture of aliphatic and alicyclic C7 to C12 hydrocarbons with a maximum content of 25% of C7 to C12 aromatic hydrocarbons. A typical composition for mineral spirits is the following: > 65% C10 or higher hydrocarbons, aliphatic solvent hexane, and a maximum aromatic hydrocarbon content of 0.1% by volume, a kauri-butanol value of 29, an initial boiling point of 149° F (65° C), a dry point of approximately 156° F (69° C), and a specific mass of 0.7 g/cc. Stoddard solvent is a specific mixture of hydrocarbons typically > 65% C10 or higher hydrocarbons.
Health and Safety
Mineral spirit has a fairly low acute toxicity by inhalation of the vapor, dermal (touching the skin) and oral routes (ingestion). However, acute exposure can lead to central nervous system depression resulting in lack of coordination and slowed reactions. Exposure to very high concentrations in enclosed spaces can lead to general narcotic effects (drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, etc.) and can eventually lead to unconsciousness. Oral ingestion presents a high aspiration hazard. Prolonged or repeated skin exposure over a long period of time can result in severe irritant dermatitis, also called contact dermatitis. Exposure to large amounts of white spirit in direct contact with the skin (e.g. being soaked with 2 liters) for several hours can cause severe chemical burns. It is recommended that skin exposure be kept to a minimum by use of gloves, and that hands are washed after coming into contact with it.
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