Making thinners Safer

As a major supplier of hazardous chemicals, Powafix has and will continue to ensure that the products we supply are as safe as possible. Recent events have brought the common practice of adding methanol to paint thinners back into the spotlight.

The three components of any Lacquer thinners are the active portion, latent portion and the diluent. Common diluents are ethanol, butanol or propanol – and although these chemicals are still harmful, they are significantly less harmful than methanol. This diluent portion of the thinners plays no active role in the performance. The diluent is used to make the formula cost effective and should be used at an addition level of 30%-40%. 

Methanol has a high toxicity in humans. If ingested, as little as 10ml can cause permanent blindness by destruction of the optic nerve and 30ml is potentially fatal, although a fatal dose is typically 100-125ml.

Lacquer thinners

Methanol is toxic to the human body in two ways:

1. If it enters the body through ingestion, inhalation or absorption through the skin it can be fatal due to its central nervous system depressant properties.

2. In the process of toxication, Methanol is metabolised to formic acid in the liver. The ultimate effect is the depravation of oxygen at cellular levels.

The initial symptoms of methanol intoxication include central nervous system depression, headache, dizziness, nausea, lack of co-ordination, confusion and with sufficiently large doses, unconsciousness, and death.

In 2013, nearly 11 years ago, Powafix pioneered the use of safety caps on all our small solvents and liquid hazardous products. We aligned all the safety information on our labels to comply with SABS standards and the consumer protection act. 

Solvents supplied into the DIY market are often partially used and then stored in homes. The children of the customers we all serve need to be protected from the dangers of hazardous products. 

Too many of our competitors continue to treat this issue with little or no care and often put profit before the health and safety of customers. We often see dangerous chemicals packed using ‘vinegar’ type tear off caps, computer printed labels with no safety or contact information and Lacquer thinners with 50% or more methanol. Not only is product like this dangerous but it cannot effectively perform the function required of a Lacquer thinner. 

“We ask our customers to join us in making the use of these chemicals safer and help us safe guard the health of the people using them.” Powafix CEO Gareth Cole.

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