Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland
An organic solvent is a type of volatile organic compound (VOC). VOCs are organic chemicals which vaporise at room temperature.
Organic compounds used as solvents include:
Organic solvents are often used:
They are also often used in the manufacture of pharmaceutical products, footwear, paints, varnishes and adhesives.
Organic solvents react in the atmosphere in sunlight, producing an air pollutant known as 'ground-level ozone'. High concentrations of ground-level ozone seriously affect human, animal and plant health. They also harm building materials, forests and crops.
Many organic solvents are classified as toxic or carcinogenic. They can cause significant air and water pollution, and land contamination.
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