What Are Mineral Spirits?


Quick Answer

Mineral spirits are liquid chemicals, often used to dry-clean clothing, degrease surfaces and thin paint. They contain poisonous ingredients called hydrocarbons, which are composed only of carbon and hydrogen. A person can suffer mineral spirits poisoning after swallowing the liquid or inhaling its fumes.

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Full Answer

Products containing minerals spirits, such as paint thinners, often carry labels warning that the liquid exposes the user to benzene, a cancer-causing hydrocarbon. A person who inhales mineral spirits can experience dizziness, nausea, breathing difficulties and vision loss. Mineral spirits can cause brain and nervous system damage after prolonged or frequent exposure. Someone who has inhaled mineral spirits should immediately seek fresh air.

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