White spirit (also known as mineral spirit, mineral turpentine, and petroleum spirit) is a petroleum-derived liquid used as a solvent in painting. White spirits are widely used as a paint thinner or as its component, although there is a wide range of paint thinner solvents. White spirit is a clear, flammable, colorless liquid. White spirit is a commonly used, cheap, and effective solvent in general oil painting. White spirit is made from various solvents such as benzene, toluene, xylene, ethyl acetate, and acetone. The difference between turpentine and white spirit is that turpentine is made from natural resin extracted from trees, while the white spirit is made from petroleum distillate. Moreover, the white spirit is less toxic and flammable compared to turpentine.
White spirit is insoluble in water and is used as a degreasing solvent, as a cleaning solvent, as an extraction solvent, and as a solvent in asphalt products, varnishes, lacquers, paints, aerosols, and wood preservatives. In Western Europe, around 60% of the total white spirit consumption is used in varnishes, lacquers, and paints. Moreover, it is used to clean auto parts and tools, paint brushes after use, to remove adhesive residue from non-porous surfaces, as a starter fluid for charcoal grills, and many other common tasks. White spirit has an extremely wide range of applications and it is often used for several different applications including the common solvent in oil painting, the solvent for glazing, and the common solvent for the removal of impurities from water. Generally, white spirit is used for painting purposes and it is said that it is a good solvent that can remove dust, impurities, varnish remover. However, the white spirit also can act as an astringent, meaning that it may damage the wood. Some manufacturers of white spirit may suggest that you avoid using it on your woodworking projects.
The use of white spirit in various consumer products, such as varnishes and paints, can expose the general population to the white spirit. However, these products are unlikely to cause harm if the product is used correctly. Exposure can also occur in a commercial setting where the white spirit is used or produced. However, safety measures are in place to protect employees, such levels are below those that are thought to cause harmful effects. Moreover, the presence of white spirit in the environment does not always lead to exposure. To cause any adverse health effects, one should be exposed to it. One must come into contact with white spirit by drinking or breathing the substance, or by skin contact. However, the adverse health effects one may experience depend on many factors, such as the duration of exposure, the way that an individual is exposed, and the amount to which that individual is exposed.
Three different types of white spirit are available, such as hydrodesulfurization alone, solvent extraction, or hydrogenation. Each type includes three grades, such as high flash grade, regular grade, and low flash grade. White spirits (petroleum-based) are inexpensive replacement for turpentine (vegetable-based). Other common names for white spirit are paint thinner, mineral spirit, turpentine substitute, and Stoddard solvent.
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