Many solvents are used in organic synthesis, but higher exposures occur when these chemicals are used in open processes, e.g., as degreasers and as solvents for paints, dyes, and pesticides. [Ladou, p. 524] Highest exposures in the past occurred in dry cleaning, screen printing, rotogravure printing, industrial painting, manufacturing of glass reinforced plastic, and tile fixing; [Reference #2]
Most industrial solvents are in a liquid state at room temperature. They are used to disperse other substances into solution, e.g., cleaning, degreasing, thinning, and extracting. Organic solvents include several classes of chemicals: hydrocarbons (aliphatic, alicyclic and aromatic), petroleum distillates, alcohols, glycols, phenols, ketones, esters, ethers, glycol ethers, chlorinated hydrocarbons, and chlorofluorocarbons. [LaDou, p. 424-8] See the Disease, "Solvents, acute toxic effect."